i'm not here

If you see this, post an excerpt of your WIP

This is from an exes to lovers fic that I’m uhhhh stuck on and have shelved for the time being. Completely unedited and unbetaed, so please excuse typos or random tense or pov changes :)

It was a dream, Louis could tell, he dreamed of Harry now and then and it was always something like this. He could almost smell the bacon and coffee. It was a good dream. Harry was cooking him breakfast and he was sitting at the counter watching him work. They were both in nothing but their underwear, still sleep rumpled from the night before. Louis hopped off of his stool and walked around into the kitchen until he was standing right behind Harry. He slid his hands around his waist and pressed his chest into Harry’s back, then slipped his fingers under the waistband of his underwear, rubbing the pads of his fingers over his hipbones.

He opened his eyes, rolled over, and looked at the clock. Six o’clock. He’d slept thirty minutes past his usually wake up time. The room was completely dark, thanks to the hurricane shutters, and Louis pulled the blankets up under his chin. It was freezing in the house. And he had extra urgent morning wood, thanks to his dream about Harry. Even the smell of bacon and coffee lingered. He threw back the covers, jumped out of bed, and raced out into the kitchen to find a fresh pot of coffee and a plate of cooked bacon sitting next to a carton of eggs. What the fuck.

His heart was beating wildly as he looked around. “Hello?” The living room and kitchen were empty, so he walked back down the hall to check the bathroom and other bedroom. He didn’t know what he was looking for, though he had his suspicions, but both rooms looked exactly the way they had the night before.

Back out in the living room, he noticed a blanket on the couch. He turned his head and by the door, hanging on the anchor key hook, was another set of keys with a familiar compass dangling from them. Louis took a deep breath and opened the door to walk out on the porch. Harry wasn’t there, but when he walked around the corner so that he could see the beach, there was a familiar figure standing down at the ocean’s edge.

Suddenly his racing heart wasn’t motivated by fear or the adrenaline response from finding out someone had been in his house or the confusion over the fact that they’d made breakfast. Now it was pure anger.

He stomped back to the guest room and dug around until he found a pair of cut off sweatpants. At least his panic and then anger had wilted his hard on. It had been years since he’d seen Harry and he didn’t want their first meeting to include him hiding an erection. He yanked a t-shirt over his head and tried to mentally prepare himself for the coming confrontation. There was really no use. He took a deep breath and pulled open the door.

Louis tromped down the stairs and paused at the old, beat up ford truck that was parked under the house. Harry had probably borrowed it from one of his employees because he didn’t want anything to happen to his Range Rover in the storm. Louis rolled his eyes and walked barefoot down the drive, then jogged across the road. When he got down through the dunes, he could see him easily, but instead of calling out he stood quiet and still. 

Harry’d brought Jack with him and it made Louis’ heart hurt. Harry had his old lacrosse stick with him and was flinging a tennis ball down the beach for Jack to fetch. Louis watched them for a few minutes, Jack speeding off down the beach before Harry had even thrown the ball, his excitement when Harry finally flung it as far as he could, the sand flying up behind his feet as he ran back with the ball held tightly in his mouth. 

Harry’s ridiculous laugh carried in the strengthening wind, across the beach, and up the sand dunes to Louis’ ears and he smiled before he could stop himself. He quickly corrected that when Harry turned to look up toward the dunes and caught sight of him standing there.

He pocketed Jack’s ball and started to walk toward Louis. He looked different, and it only seemed appropriate, it had been a few years, but short hair was the last thing Louis had expected. He’d thought it was up in the usual bun, but it wasn’t. Short on the sides and in the back, the longer pieces up top whipped around in the wind as he approached. When he was a few hundred feet away, Harry bent down and scratched Jack behind the ears, then pointed at Louis. The dog took off immediately, his floppy ears bouncing and almost streaming behind him as he aimed straight for Louis.

Louis went down to one knee and waited. He refused to get emotional in front of Harry, but shit, he’d missed Jack. There were a few gray hairs sprinkled in with the black on his chest and above his eyes. He let the dog lick him all over his face and scratched him until Harry caught up. Then he stood up, clenched his jaw and met Harry’s eyes. Without a word, Louis turned and headed back for the house, Jack right at his heels.

Interactions with the FAHC can be wildly beneficial; so long as you play by their rules. So long as you pay your dues, defer to Ramsey and fulfil your promises, so long as you remember that for all their wicked laughter the Fake’s do not play around when it comes to threats. When it comes to debts. If you don’t produce what you owe, if you fall behind, try to deceive or slink out of the city, you’ll quickly find yourself hosting an unwelcome visitor.

The FAHC have three key enforcers, three heavyweights who enact the majority of the crew’s dirty work. There are others, of course, some that come and go, some that have other roles, but all of Los Santos recognise these three. The guard dogs, the brawlers, the muscle; the violent core of an inherently dangerous crew, they keep order, deliver punishment, deal with any who grow more problematic than the FAHC are comfortable with.

If they merely accompany one of the others, shadow Ramsey to a meeting or the Frontman to a deal, they’ll be silent warning, visible promise; so long as everything goes to plan they are no danger, unnecessary unless they aren’t. If they come alone though, if one comes knocking all by himself, shit is about to hit the wall and nothing you do or say can stop it. There’s no telling which enforcer will show, and there is great debate surrounding which of the three is the worst, which is the one you should pray to avoid.

The Vagabond is a popular option, the obvious choice for worst of the worst; no one want’s to open the door and see that skull grinning back at them. Nobody wan’t to explain their shortcomings to the boogieman of Los Santos, to the mercenary who’s said to have no mercy, who’s said to have no restraint, whose lust for death is curbed only by the wishes of his master. Everyone’s heard the stories, everyone’s seen the aftermath; the Vagabond is not a man to be taken lightly.

But quietly, privately, some have admitted that when it comes to a shakedown, to a threat and a nasty reminder rather than an actual punishment, a visit from the Vagabond might not be the worst Ramsey has to offer. There’s something meticulous in the Vagabond, something endlessly patient; it’s an unspeakably horrifying quality in a killer, but not quite such a bad thing in an enforcer. He’s terrifying, yes, and if he actually plans on carrying through there is no escape, but in terms of deadlines and ultimatums at least he’s upfront. At least he’s clear; there are rules to interacting with the Vagabond, and so long as you abide by them you won’t attract his ire. He’ll fulfil Ramsey’s wishes to the letter but so long as you keep your head down and your nose clean that’s as far as he will go.

This is not always the case with the Fake AH Crew’s resident short fuse; Jones, Mogar, rage incarnate, the walking personification of destruction. If Jones is sent to knock some heads together there is absolutely nothing stopping him from throwing in a few broken bones for free. As loyal to the boss as the Vagabond but where the mercenary seems willing to carry out orders as requested, Jones likes to embellish on them. There is no overstating the volatile nature of the mans temper; Jones can jump from complete calm to irrevocable rage in the blink of an eye, can seem utterly reasonable one moment and irrationally furious the next.

While fully capable of unexpected bouts of tolerant patience Jones has no time for perceived idiocy, no sympathy for broken promises. He is, in a way, a man of honour and once you’ve lost his respect there’s no coming back. Even those he leaves unscathed may not escape unmarked; like a dog with a bone his disdain will follow you, a dark blot noted by all who fear his wrath. He might not have the same reputation as the Vagabond, might not swing the same flavour of danger, but stories of his temper are no less prevalent, warnings against pinging his radar no less profound. If Jones turns on you not even your gods will protect you.

Then there’s Dooley, Little J, the newest of Ramsey’s attack dogs. Based on looks alone he seems like he could be trouble, compact but visibly strong, handling his weapons with practised ease, but unlike Jones or the Vagabond Dooley always comes in smiling. Comes in with a slap to the shoulder, a friendly chat, some commiseration over the difficulties of the job. It’s easy enough, after that, to think that he’s a light touch. To think Ramsey’s newest enforcer lacks the presence of his partners, lacks their eager viciousness, to think he is easily the best of the three to have turn up at your door. Foolish.

See, for all that banter Little J is no less committed to his crew, no less judgemental of your disappointing display, no less breathtakingly ruthless. When the Vagabond brings up your failings he gets begging. When Jones sneers at your incompetence he gets excuses. When Little J asks about the complications you had, friendly and understanding and naively inexperienced, you’ll open right up. You’ll spill your fucking guts, and he’ll let you. He’ll listen and nod in all the right places, he’ll smile like you’re buddies and you’ll be so sure you’ve gotten away with it that you’ll fail to notice the way he never let go of your shoulder. The way he never stepped out of your space. You’ll keep digging your own grave right up until his hand tightens and shoves you into a wall, until he holds you there effortlessly despite your struggles, until he leans in close and explains just how badly you’ve messed up. There’s no room for excuses now, not after you’ve admitted everything, no chance to change your story; all you can do is nod, is agree, is promise and grovel and plead, say whatever it is you need to say before Dooley is satisfied. He’ll step back then, let you go and straighten your shirt, clap you on the shoulder as he turns to leave, still chattering away like nothing happened. Still smiling like you’re buddies.  

There’s great debate about which of Ramsey’s enforcers is the most intimating, which would be the worst option to find knocking at your door. Its a conversation with no resolution, an eternal loop; they argue about the worst, because god knows which of the three is the best. God knows which could be called relief, called merciful. They argue about the worst, all knowing exactly what the answer is. Knowing nothing could trump a visit from more than one, nothing could be more dangerous, more worthy of abject terror. If Ramsey sends a pair of his enforcers things are guaranteed to get nasty, things are guaranteed to get wildly unpleasant, but even two cannot compare to all three. If all three come knocking there is no escape, if all three come knocking the game is up, your run is over. It’s overkill to the extreme, the rare combination of raw threat, blinding rage and subtle menace so powerfully unnecessary it can only be a message. If the Fake’s key enforcers come knocking the very best you can hope for is to be the one chosen survivor left to spread the word.