Gavin didn’t know much about the concept of “home.” Growing up, he was lucky to consider what he had even a house, a dilapidated flat in the rough part of the inner city was where he used to lay his head for the vast majority of his life. There was no refuge there, no warmth or happiness or safety. Going “home” was synonymous with yelling and pain and so much fear that it just never seemed worth it.
It wasn’t always like that though. For 8 years of his life, he really was happy. In his grandfather’s little cottage in the outskirts of Oxfordshire, tucked far away from any neighbors, but Gavin could say he was never wanting for love or affection.
His grandfather–Nonno, he called him–was a kind man. Honest. Had worked and worked and worked until he could scrounge up enough money to move his family from their tiny town in Italy to the UK, and then worked until he no longer physically could. A man who had every reason to be jaded and bitter, having outlived his wife as well as their three children, but Gavin can not think of a single time when his Nonno was anything other than a sweet, kindhearted, happy-go-lucky fellow. Even when he became sick, when cancer and chemo ravaged his body from the inside out, left him pale and frail and a shadow of the man he had once been, he never once let his smile slip. A charmer, Gavin remembers the nurses all used to say with a fond grin when Gavin rushed straight from school to the hospital every few weeks for the next chemotherapy appointment.
There Nonno would be sat, in one of those cushy, reclining chairs that did nothing to mask the view of the bleak white walls or the smell of antiseptic or the image of his fragile grandfather attached to various leads and IVs all poking through his skin. Gavin would always feel sick looking at it. But Nonno would see him in the doorway, smile that bright, brilliant smile, and exclaim “Bambino! You are here!” in that heavily accented voice that never failed to put Gavin at ease.
Nonno had taught Gavin a few things in the years Gavin lived with him: work hard for the things you think are worth it, never be afraid of failure, and a home-cooked meal can cure all ailments.
Gavin didn’t believe the last one, as a young lad of 9 years, he couldn’t correlate Nonno’s favorite phrase with his inability to cure his cancer. But even a young Gavin couldn’t deny the look of utter joy Nonno always got when cooking. Or the look of pride when tasting something Gavin had cooked himself.
Those days in the kitchen, with Nonno patiently directing Gavin on how to spice something properly or the true Italian way to make pasta from scratch, were some of Gavin’s fondest memories. Now that, he will forever associate with home.
That’s what he thinks as he lugs out the old-fashioned pasta maker out from the cabinet and readies the dough he already rolled out. He works on autopilot, the heavy, warm smell of garlic and tomato enveloping him and reminding him of a simpler time.
“Whatcha doing, B?”
“Bugger me!” Gavin snaps, jumping a foot in the air, much to Dan’s amusement.
“Aw did I scare you, B? Sorry B!”
Gavin glares at him before pointedly returning to his work, cutting a long strip of dough to insert into the machine. Dan lets out another laugh and wraps his arms around Gavin’s waist, settling flush against Gavin’s back and resting his chin against his shoulder.
“Your observational skills are unparalleled, Daniel.”
Dan snorts and kisses Gavin behind the ear, grinning widely when Gavin instantly melts against him. He presses another kiss behind his ear and then moves to his cheek, and then the corner of his lips. He hums happily when Gavin sighs and turns in the circle of his arms to kiss him properly.
“You are an absolute menace, Daniel Gruchy.”
“Aw B, don’t be like that B!”
“Don’t be like what?” Meg asks as she walks into the kitchen, popping up on the counter next to the boys and puckering her lips for kisses. The boys easily oblige.
“B’s being a prick,” Dan whines instantly to her, nuzzling Gavin’s hair.
“And Dan’s being a twat.”
“Boys, boys, no fighting in the kitchen.” Meg leans over to the stove and lifts up one of the lids, inhaling deeply at the smell of homemade pasta sauce. She ladles a bit out, blows on it, and then sticks her pinky in. Gavin watches intently as her eyes close and she moans around her finger. “Fuck that’s good.”
“Yeah? Does it need anything?”
“Could do with a sprinkle more of oregano, but other than that–” she dips her finger again. “Ugh. Delicious.”
“Cheers, girl,” Gavin smiles. He moves for the cupboard, but finds himself completely stuck. “B, lemme go, I need to get the spices.”
“Nah,” Dan grins. “I demand payment.”
“I’m cooking for you, you spoiled wanker!”
“Mmmm, nope. Not appeased. Need more kisses.”
“Kisses eh?” Gavin turns fully in Dan’s hold, chest to chest, and grabs Dan’s face with his floury hands. When Dan sputters at the sudden onslaught of white powder, Gavin squeaks out a laugh and kisses his nose. “That enough payment for you luv?”
Dan splutters again and glares, wiping away frantically at the floury handprints on his face. Meg laughs hysterically, bent at the waist, and Dan turns his glare on her too.
“You’re both awful.”
“Naaaaaah,” Gavin laughs. Meg leans over for a high-five and then jumps down to skip over to the spice cabinet and pluck the dried oregano from the bottom shelf. She holds it out to Gavin but quickly draws back when he reaches for it.
“What about my payment?” She grins cheekily, which slips a moment later when she sees Gavin’s hand inch towards the flour. “NO, GAVIN I WILL–”
The flour collides with her forehead and she holds her breath as the dust blooms outward around her.
“Gavin?” She calls over the raucous laughter.
“You know those knives you got me for my birthday?”
“It’s going straight in your nose.”
“It’s a big enough target.”
It’s a free for all then, the pets wisely steering clear after the first time Hebe was nearly trounced by a baguette. By the end, all three are absolutely covered in powder and the floor is littered with cans and herbs and even more flour, laughter still ringing through the halls. Miraculously, the pasta sauce and fresh pasta remained untouched.
Gavin pulls himself upright, accepting the hand Dan extended and the tomato-y kiss with a wide grin.
“I’m not cleaning this,” Meg says immediately, picking basil stems out of her hair with a grimace. “Dibs on first shower!”
“Meg, no! I already called it!”
“Race ya, bitch!”
And once again, Gavin is left alone in the kitchen, beaming fondly after them. He shakes his head, picks some Parmesan from out of his ear, and returns back to work, readying the noodles to boil. By the time both Meg and Dan return from the bathroom, the food is complete.
They kiss his temple when he returns from his own quick shower, vow to clean up so he doesn’t have to, and they all relocate to the living room. There, with Gavin sat comfortably between his partners, the shitty movie Dan put on completely ignored in favor of digging into the delicious food, moans and compliments filling the air in between bites, Gavin realizes something.
You know what I need in my life rn guys.
V with long enough hair for a man bun.
Like, listen alright. This boi is all about his aesthetic. You can’t tell me that at some point, this boi didn’t end up going off on a long extended photography trip in a different country (or multiple) and didn’t come back with longer (but not toooo long) hair, enough to put it up in a man bun while he works.
Or maybe he steals yoosungs thing and uses an aesthetically pleasing hair clip while he works to keep his hair off his face. (Pretend his eyes work btw, let me dream!)
You can’t tell me that this wouldn’t be attractive af. Like honestly. Hell, just put the man bun V + summer V and I might just die.
Someone please, art this, I do not have the skills!
Hello, Maya! Have you read Louis' interview yet? What do you think of it? And do you like the photos? 💙💞
Hi!! I haven’t had a moment to properly sit down and read it all, but from I could understand it was finally, FINALLY, a good step in the right direction. Positive, helpful glimpse on his persona, absolutely positive kind of image, the one people like and root for and no direct quotes about the stunts. I was afraid it’d be bad, I’m currently pretty happy!
The photos are…I have no words for the photos, he looks perfect. Just perfect <3