Graduation season is always very bittersweet for me. I feel so much happiness and love for the people in my life who have hit that milestone and who’ve worked to overcome such daunting obstacles to their success. I never want to be the kind of ghoul who can’t feel happiness for people who achieved what I could not.
But I also remember my first quarter at UCLA, finding anti immigrant literature in every copy machine at the library and knowing immediately i wasnt wanted. And I remember getting seven parking tickets in one quarter because I couldn’t afford to pay for gas and food and having to choose between those three. And I remember being so depressed that id climb the outside steps of Luskin and imagined falling down or being so manic that I’d come to school with my readings in backpack next to two bottles of riesling I would go through just to be able to sit in class. Or being so strung out on my meds after I finally saw CAPS that I’d wake up in the sculpture garden or on the hill not knowing how I got there. Or falling asleep on the 405 NB after working two jobs to pay for the basics required to attend. On and on and on. It was hell.
So when I see my friends walk, I know they went through hell too. And I’m so proud of them. I’m so proud of them. But I kinda wish someone would be proud of me too.
So I have a character who learned how to use a longbow when she was a child to hunt. My question is two-tiered: one, in what ways would that impact her physical development; and two, would this help her if she needed to use a bow against people?
Strong shoulders, strong arms.
In all honesty, the bow is a weapon you build to as a hunter. The first weapon she’d have learned was the sling. More useful for small game, and you can be deadly accurate with it. The David versus Goliath story in the Bible isn’t actually a joke or overblown. A child taking down a grown adult with a rock and a sling is entirely plausible if said adult isn’t wearing a helmet. The sling is the weapon of children everywhere, shepherds and hunters. In many parts of the world, they still use it. It’s also better for small game. Katniss would’ve done better braining the squirrels with a sling rather than a bow, like children do.
As a child, she’d be trained on a child’s training bow and work her way up the different types of bows practicing on a single target. The longbow is a weapon that requires a fairly hefty amount of upper body strength to wield, and she’d have to work and train up into her early teens before she was allowed to use it for hunting. The amount of strength you can draw dictates how far the arrow flies and how deep it penetrates. Depth of penetration is important, as is how far the arrow flies. Both define how close you need to be to your target in order to be successful. Herbivores don’t stand around waiting for a predator to kill them, and carnivores might just decide turnabout is fair play.
So, most of her childhood was spent on dummy duty with her bow as she learned to clean and care for it. Learning to stand, and that’s a whole series of lessons. Learning how to string the bow, learning how to hold it, learning to draw before she was ever allowed to shoot.
What whoever was training her would set her on before that is the other skills, and she’d act as a gopher for them the way all apprentices do. Following behind the older hunter, carrying their equipment, watching them and acting under their direction. You can’t hunt if you can’t find game, and you can’t eat it if you can’t clean it.
Hunting comes with a necessary subset of skills which allow the hunter to work. They don’t just go out into the woods and kill shit then come back. It requires patience. It involves waiting in one place for an animal to come by, sometimes for days. Traps, tracking, reading sign, learning to move through the underbrush without disturbing it, hiding your scent, etc.
Your hunter will catch more food that they eat on the regular with snare traps set for rabbits and other small game than they will with the bigger game like deer. Bigger game takes more investment, more energy, and a lot more luck. There’s also a higher chance of injury.
There are plenty of herbivores that won’t go down quiet, deer included. If your hunter hits wrong and they sense/smell them, there’s always the chance they won’t run and will come right in after the hunter. Animals have “fight or flight” too, and a doe can gore you just as well with her hooves as a buck can with his antlers. Any poor soul chased up a tree by a moose or just gut checked by a horse can tell you, herbivores are assholes. On an unlucky day, they’ll kill you just as well as a carnivore and that’s if you can find them at all.
The chances of managing a “one hit kill” with an animal like a deer are low and, even if you land a killing blow, they’re not just going to fall over dead. You’ve got to be able to follow it, recover the body, and kill it as it lies there bleeding out on the ground if necessary. You’ve also got to have some way to carry it back. Then, there’s the risk you run with whether the herd animals will return to the same place or move somewhere else if too many of their number die. If they do, and they’re your primary source of food, then you’ve got to move with them. Nevermind that there are quite a few animals a bow is simply no good for, like bears and boars. Where you need other tools like dogs and spears.
Hunting is a complicated business, and it doesn’t come with any guarantees.
Now, those skills do translate over well on a certain level to dealing with humans. Though, it’s not the weapon skills so much as the other less flashy ones. Many scouts in medieval armies, for example, were hunters of one sort or another. As were the foragers tasked with feeding them. The ability to tell how many people passed, where they passed, and what they brought with them from the tracks left on the roads or in the hills was a valuable ability. The ability to move through the woods without being seen, to hide your passing, to tell who is breaking trail, and to find their camps was also helpful.
The Ranger class in DnD is built on the hunter. You want a character who has more in common with Aragorn than Katniss. Aragorn uses a bow, but it’s not his only weapon.
The reason for this is that the bow isn’t a great weapon for close quarters. More importantly, it takes time to prepare. You don’t travel with it strung, as that wears out the string. If the string is no longer taut when strung then you can’t fire the bow. You don’t travel with the wood left to the elements. It needs to be wrapped, and packed away. Constantly be oiled to maintain its elasticity/limberness so it can be drawn. A dried bow is a bow you can’t pull, no matter how strong you are. You also can’t get it wet. It’s a weapon which takes a lot of prep in order to be used, a lot of care, a lot of maintenance, more than average, and a lot of hard work.
When you’re in, say, a military or part of a raiding force that knows its attacking then that’s great. Or someone who is on watch for certain periods during the day and will be relieved by another, that also works. Or when you’re sitting alone in the woods waiting for an animal to come by. However, the necessary prep time a bow requires is a lot less helpful when you’re taken by surprise.
By the time you’ve taken it out, unwrapped it, strung it, you’re dead. The enemy was also probably too close for the bow to really be of help anyway. Its a weapon which requires distance. Awesome when you’re pegging people from the ramparts, halfway up a tree, or fifty to a hundred feet off. Less so when they’re standing over you, axe in hand. The traditional role of archers in a military structure is artillery, and not that different from how we use the modern one. Their purpose is bombardment, they soften up the enemy so the vanguard can break their lines and kill them.
There is one kind of single combat the bow is useful for: stalking.
The bow is a silent weapon, and when used in a hunter-stalker mode, can be terrifyingly effective. It’s a stealth weapon, meant for ghosting in and ghosting out as you pick your enemies off. However, this kind of combat requires a proactive mindset and a willingness to get your hands dirty.
It’s also vindictive and, from the perspective of most modern morals, it’s cruel.
Humans are no more lucky than animals when it comes to hunting. The bow is the slow death. No character, no matter their skill level, is going to be guaranteed clean kills. However, what they do get is debilitating blows. An arrow through an arm, a leg, or better a lung, is going to take enemies out of the fight and if they’re not dead yet then potentially another one with them. Harassment is the order of the day. The slow path of carving off opponents, damaging them so they can’t fight back, following as they try to run, before moving in for the kill.
It’s a predatory style of combat, it is (really) just hunting. Hunting humans instead of animals. The terrifying form of combat that haunts so many horror movies. It’s psychological warfare.
However, it’s the kind of combat that takes time, patience, and a strong stomach. It’s up to you to decide if that’s the kind of combat you envisioned for this character to participate in. Or the kind of story you want to tell.
People embrace the Predator and Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (2013), and countless others that have this particular combat style.
It might, however, behoove you to consider coming up with other weapons this character has familiarity with. From knives, to traps, to fishing lines, to other more improvised weapons built on the fly. This character has a range of options within their skillset, and there’s no need to stick to just one.
Also we have a bow tag, and an archery tag for past discussion on this subject.
Ok I don’t have anyone to talk to right now, I just had to be socially trans in person for an hour while signing legal forms, and I’m strung out and tired. SO I’M GOING TO RANT ABOUT CONSTRUCTED LANGUAGES AND MAGICAL SCRIPTS.
Look, I get it. You want your conlang/magic script to look mystical, cryptic, special. You want it to look different than any other language while still looking like a language people write in. If you’re a spiritual person or magic-user this may even be a language you’re channeling and that you believe to be ancient in nature or otherwise pre-existing. But 95% of conlangs and magical scripts look totally fake and made-up, and this is not a judgment I’m casting on their actual grammatical structure or language theory or the languages they were based on. The thing that makes a language look like one people ever actually wrote in for hundreds of years, that makes it look like the letters/characters are all from the same language, is that it looks like a language that’s been written in whatever tools you are claiming or feel like it was traditionally written in.
Let’s take cuneiform:
Looks super-neat, right? Man, who’d ever think of having those wedges in an alphabet! It’s totally different than most modern languages out there and very distinctive, and the wedges are consistent across the letters, so it makes them all look like they’re from the same alphabet. This wasn’t just arbitrarily designed as a font style. There is a reason for this!
Cuneiform writing was pressed into wet clay with these shaped bits and that’s why it looks like that. It got stamped with wedges. That’s how (this type of) writing was done at the time. It’s a technological solution and that’s what makes the lettering get that peculiar stylization. You’ll get variants based on craftsmanship and tools, but basically the method is the same across various implementations. Once someone tried to write that in pencil, you could imagine it’d look different, and you’d see evidence of people’s hand-motion between strokes, becoming more of a tilt between letters.
For instance, English looks like it does, even in tumblr’s sans-serif fonts, because it can be constructed with a pen. When it gets fancy with a variable-width pressure-sensitive pen nib, you can get more complex and flowy, but notice the flow and arc still go with the movements natural for a hand to make:
Those little trails between letters exist today because nib pens were drippy and left ink trails. The written language adapted to the tools to incorporate the trails and still make it look legible, and that’s why we have cursive writing at all. This is a simplified history but it’s basically there to make you think about the letter shapes in various traditional ways of writing in English and why it looks like it does instead of like cuneiform.
Which brings me to conlangs. If you want your brand new ancient-looking language to truly look like people have used it for eons, write it out with the tools you think those people would have used, and keep adapting the letters if you find that, say, a brush or nib pen can’t construct the weird arcs and whirls you’ve designed the language to have. Languages by and large are made to be convenient to write. If you don’t know how to write kanji, Chinese words probably look complex and arbitrary to you. But their shapes are logical when you see them written with a brush:
So if you have some arcane-looking swooshy script but it still looks kind of fake, think about where the weight should really be. It should be where the brush presses down heavier and the trailing marks are where the brush lifts up (and usually leaves the paper and ends the stroke). Where the stroke is wide on one end is where the brush initially met the paper. Above, you can see how one swish immediately flows into another, the strokes are like arrows leading across the page when you understand how they’re created. Pick up a brush and figure out an actual stroke order for your symbol. If logically the stroke seems like it’d leave someone’s hand smearing it trying to follow its arc, then logically that symbol would eventually get redesigned if it were in an actual language. Someone would figure out a better way to write it and everyone would adopt that way over time.
So practice writing your language with different tools. Consider a calligraphy course or even just a kit with a guidebook (or youtube training videos!). Written language is a tool that people use, magical as it can be. And if you’re using it for magical purposes such as woodburning it into tools or painting it onto things or writing it onto paper, consider that your symbols will change a bit according to the tools, just like with mundane languages. A wedge-shaped wood burner will get you something a bit closer to cuneiform. A brush will get you something flowy and not super-precise. Pencil will not leave ink trails and will get you something more technical and practical. Your written language logically should shift for that and adapt like a proper tool. And if you do that right, if you really use it, then it will look much more genuine because it will have experienced an actual evolution of form adapting to the physical tools it’s been worked with via.
And if you’re not using it for magic but are just using it for a fantasy setting where people use it for magic in the story, all the above would still apply to them.
Even with just one symbol not meant to be in a greater language, think about the tool you’re creating it with. It’s hard to make a realistic brush-style symbol in pencil. Use the tool that fits the symbol and you’ll produce something much more genuine-looking.
That’s it! I’m not a language expert, this is not meant to be A Real Factual History Of All Language, it’s just a rough primer in How To Make It Look Like A Language Is Actually Written With. It’s not meant to be a critique in whether your magical language is “real” enough or “magical” enough either. It’s simply some pointers in how to make a magical/constructed language that’s actually reasonable to write with and suits the tools you’re writing it with and the purposes you mean it for. Hundreds of years of written language evolution is hard to replace, but I believe in you.
Gansey had always felt as if there were two of him: the Gansey who was in control, able to handle any situation, able to talk to anyone, and then, the other, more fragile Gansey, strung out and unsure, embarrassingly earnest, driven by naive longing
Lol I guess I knew subconsciously but never realised how particular my type is until my roommate trolled me for it the other night - “Dude you’re type is literally tall, sad skinny guys with darker hair, and lots of it, that look either very strung out or sick and either are or look slightly Asian.”
So I pulled together some of my top fave guys and like……
I didn’t think I was underrating Harry before — I always looked sideways at the critics who didn’t get his old band — but I have to admit I never expected this. The persona he gives us here feels so complete and distinct, developing hints dropped on 1D album cuts into a fully realized character you want to meet in the hallway and ask for a hit of whatever he’s on. He’s strung out on the 20th-century rock canon, mainly, as you’ve all noted — madly in love with The Beatles and The Stones, ready to make some noise in a hotel room but even more stoked to get bittersweet and acoustic afterward. And while he clearly wants his solo debut to be a major statement, he’s also smart enough not to get lost in the ego traps that snare some other male pop stars on their way there. It’s the little details that make these songs work: I like how he ends the refrain of “From the Dining Table” with a half-sighed “by the way,” trying to sound casual but only making it clearer how hurt he is. And I love it when he lists “she’s got a book for every situation!” as one of his crush’s top three most alluring qualities on “Carolina.” There’s something so charming to me about how giddy he is to be hanging out with someone more well-read than he is (that’s how I hear that line, at least), and it speaks to the album’s underlying generosity.
Gansey had always felt as if there were two of him: the Gansey who was in control, able to handle any situation, able to talk to anyone, and then, the other, more fragile Gansey, strung out and unsure, embarrassingly earnest, driven by naive longing.
A/N: hi this is cute and I’m dedicating it to my bb @illumninate cause she’s sad and I don’t want her to be!! She deserves sunshine and happiness!! Jealous shawn is the sexiest shawn xoxo
“I was a really dorky kid.”
Shawn and I were laying naked on the hotel bed somewhere in Europe. It was well past midnight, but neither of us knew exactly how late it was, and nor did we care. We were talking about our childhoods in the dim light from the city that poured in through the window, and he was telling me about the extent of his Harry Potter obsession.
“You still are a dorky kid,” I reminded him. Shawn made a noise of protest and strung his arm out across my face as a form of chastising me. I giggled and pushed it off, intertwining his hand with mine and kissing it lightly. We looked at each other as he tried to fake unimpressed, though his grin was deceiving him. “I’m kidding baby, don’t worry. I bet you impressed all the girls with your extensive Harry Potter knowledge,” I assured him. Shawn shook his head at me, grinning still and giving a small squeeze to my bare sides that made me squirm and laugh. With his hands still on my sides, he brought me towards him, nuzzling his head into my neck. His hair was still a little sweaty from the sex we’d just had, and the silky locks tickled my jaw.
“gansey had always felt as if there were two of him: the gansey who was in control, able to handle any situation, able to talk to anyone, and then, the other, more fragile gansey, strung out and unsure, embarrassingly earnest, driven by naive longing.”
simple as the title, where your avenger boo kisses you
Bucky: Thighs. On your first few dates with him, you never pictured Bucky to be a thigh man. You more expected him to be an old fashioned kiss on the hand type, but that all went out the window the first night he slept over. He took what you thought were flaws and made them his favorite things about you. Bucky loves waking you up in the morning by trailing kisses starting at your collarbone and going all the way down to those thighs he loves. You have a small tattoo on your inner left thigh that he always traces over lightly with his fingers, and it drives you absolutely mad. When he’s had a long day of being an avenger, he loves coming home to already find you in bed. Bucky takes this time to climb into the king sized bed and rest his head on your lap, occasionally leaning over from his phone to place a kiss on your thighs and tell you little things about his day.
Steve: Forehead. It started when the two of you finally made your relationship public, and went to a baseball game together. People were around everywhere, most trying to pretend they weren’t staring as you walked to your seats hand in hand, but some were blatantly taking pictures and whispering to their friends. Steve’s grip moved to around your shoulder, and he pulled you closer to him while walking around inside the stadium. Being in the public eye wasn’t something you were used to, and Steve could tell. So instead of giving everyone a show, he sweetly placed his lips on your forehead in hopes of calming you down. After that came many more events where he did the same before you walked out into the public eye, and it stuck as a way for you to calm one another down. Plus it was a way for the two of you to avoid the whole gross PDA thing.
Natasha:Neck. It became a thing of good luck for the both of you whenever she would place a kiss on the left side of your neck before going off on a mission. You weren’t an active agent anymore, but there were times where you would be with Maria in the control room. Natasha had no shame in kissing you in front of whoever she wanted, whether it’s just the team, or on a red carpet for the whole world to see. Sometimes she would just kiss your neck out of the blue to get you flustered and red in the face. Even on game nights with the team she would lean over your lap just to get her lips on your neck before making any bets with the team, and 99% of the time her PDA payed off. Nobody in the public eye knew how much she really suffered from the trainings when she was a kid, and sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night suffering from those memories. But you were there for her, leaving kisses across her jaw and down her neck, bringing her back to reality in your arms.
Thor:Hand. Albeit cliche, he truly loves making you feel like his queen. He was raised to treat women with the utmost respect, because he understood that he wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for them. So when Thor met you, he felt as if he had cracked the code to what life is supposed to be like. Everyone knows about how bubbly he is, but he was even more so after that first look into your eyes at the Shield christmas party. When Thor wakes up in the morning, the first thing he does is bring you closer to his body and kiss your hand. It’s his way of showing how much he loves and respects you, and without being too gross with the affection. But that sure doesn’t mean that he’s afraid to be affectionate.
Tony:Chest. Tony is all about chest kisses, and he places them with such love and care. He loves leaning into your chest while you are laying on the couch or in bed after a long day of being Tony Stark. You hold his head there, softly running your fingers through his hair and stroking his cheek. He feels his safest with his lips on your chest, even safer than when he’s in the iron suit that is damn near indestructible. It momentarily dispels all negative thoughts from his mind, and leaves him with nothing but pure adoration towards you. He feels like a giant weight is lifted off his shoulders as well. It’s at that point when he turns his head and absentmindedly presses a short, chaste kiss to your skin or the fabric that covers the area.
Peter:Temple. Whether the two of you were tangled up in each other on the couch watching a movie, or silently strolling down the street hand in hand, he always pulled you into a warm hug, and pressed a sweet kiss to your temple. Whenever he was struck with the opportunity, Peter would lightly peck your temple. It helped that you happened to enjoy being kissed there just a little bit more than straight up lip-locking. He wanted to make sure you knew how much he loved and was there for you, and felt that a soft kiss on your forehead or temple was the way to do it. Sometimes you even stretched up on your tiptoes to place a kiss on his temple whenever you saw him stressing out over something, especially new mission plans. Him leaving for said missions was a new thing, so it was always a toss up of who was going to be more strung out over the job that day.
Loki:Under-jaw. The two of always spent your down time wrapped up in blankets in bed, doing absolutely nothing aside from basking in each other’s company and body heat in silence. Loki leaned in to you and you leaned into him, becoming utterly obsessed with each other. He looked at you like you were the most exquisite thing in existence and peppered a million light kisses underneath your jaw and along the side of your neck. You always returned the favor by tightly holding him, eventually squeezing him till he was practically out of breath. You would spend all of your nights together exactly like this, much to both of your delight.
Pietro:Shoulder blades. Pietro craved skin to skin contact with you at all times of the day, mostly in the form of a kiss, which couldn’t happen often, much to your disappointment as well as his. So, he stuck to loosely slinging his arm around your shoulders and following you around like a lost puppy while you performed domestic tasks around the compound. Whenever you stopped bumbling about, doing whatever it was that you were doing, Pietro quickly peppered kisses all along your shoulder blades. They spanned everywhere from the shoulders to the nape of your neck. As long as it didn’t interfere with your task at hand, you indulged him and stood still, eyes fluttering shut in content for a moment until he was inevitably pulled away from you to do important Avengers work. He always made it up to you, however, in the form of much more interesting activities.
Bruce:Nose. Your touch never failed to provide Bruce with much needed affection, and reassurance that you were still around and weren’t ever going to leave him. You always stuck around, glued to his side while he moved about his lab. He tried on multiple occasions to explain what he does in the simplest way possible to you. Most of the time, you just looked at him and smiled, which Bruce knew as your nice way of telling him to stop wasting his breath because you weren’t going to understand any time soon. He softly chuckled every time, quietly sighed with a light smile on his face, pulled your face close to his and pressed a soft kiss on your nose. This gentle of a kiss reminded him that he’s still just Bruce, and not the other guy.
Scott:Cheek. Scott woke up significantly earlier than you did every morning, but never failed to give you a sloppy good morning kiss on the cheek before he rolled begrudgingly out of bed. They always woke you up though, which you didn’t mind. You always pulled a sleepy smile anyway, and rolled over to his side of the bed and basked in the hot spot of sheets he left behind, instantly falling back asleep. You were awakened again about a half an hour later to another, less sloppy kiss on the cheek and a goofy smile from Scott before he left for whatever job he had acquired from his friends. He whispered a promise to you about taking you out to dinner that night, an offer you accepted, before hurrying out of the room and out of the apartment.
What If one of the fakes had a high school reunion or something like that and just took the crew and it somehow ended in a shoot out with the cops.
Let’s just be clear, it’s not a pride thing. Geoff has never cared what people said about him, not outside a professional sense anyway; he knew exactly who he was, what he was capable of, even before he’d taken an entire city to its knees. So it’s not that he felt the need to prove himself, it’s just that there’s something particular about high school trauma, isn’t there? Something that lingers, even when it shouldn’t, something that emerges from even the most upstanding adults when thrown back together for a reunion, the bullies and the bullied, all desperate to show what they’ve become.
Geoff’s last high school was nothing like he’d ever been to before, a snobby upper-crust hellhole he was only in because his Ma’s third husband pulled some strings, and the other students were quick to point out just how much he didn’t belong. Between the tattoos and the smoking, the lazy looks and slow sneering drawl, it was always all too easy to label Geoff a loser, a drop out, trailer park trash everyone knew would be washing their cars one day. Never mind that he scored higher than most of his cohort even when skipping more or less every class, never mind that he is possibly the most well-read crime-lord in the country, back then he had an image and teenagers are relentless. Not that Geoff was all that phased even at the time, only a year or so away from the day he picked up his first gun and never looked back, but it’s the principal of the thing.
So when an invite forwards through from an email so old he’d forgotten he’d even made it Geoff has to laugh. Then pause, consider, hatch an utterly ridiculous idea, and laugh some more. Because he might not care, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t enjoy ruining the night for all the pathetic stuck-up nobodies he went to school with; rubbing your success in everyone’s faces is what reunions are for, after all. The fact that it has a theme, that it is masquerade of all things, really just cements Geoff’s resolve to drag his crew halfway across the country into one of the strangest nights of their lives.
Everyone knows the option to bring a guest to these events is, in reality, the offer to bring a romantic partner, singular, but it isn’t technically stated. There are no rules barring Geoff from RSVP-ing for 7, so that’s exactly what he does. Sure he receives a few increasingly less polite emails suggesting he’d been mistaken but he doesn’t even bother opening them, doesn’t try to clarify that he is bringing his friends, his family, not his entire harem. Let them talk; they’d do it anyway. Plus, it’s not like the Fake’s aren’t all entirely too pleased with the suggestion, cackling hyenas who spend the next few weeks laying it on thick, batting their eyes and blowing Geoff kisses, picking out increasingly absurd meet-cute stories to tell his scandalised classmates. Between creating new identities and playing dress up in masks and suits they couldn’t be happier.
Masks or not they catch every eye in the room when they make their entrance and why wouldn’t they; Geoff and his unusual request must have been the talk of the rumour mill and identity hidden or not clearly this must be Geoff, it’s not like anyone else brought along 6 dates. As stage whispers hit a dull roar it’s obvious no one was prepared for what they were seeing, perhaps imagined instead stained tank tops and a string of strung-out baby mama’s, not expensively tailored suits and an attractively refined entourage. Paying the noise no heed Geoff swans into the room with Jack looking elegant on one arm, Gavin at his most Ken-doll glamorous tucked under the other, flanked on either side by Ryan, Michael, Jeremy and Ray, all dressed to impress.
Shock and jealousy aren’t good looks on anyone, let alone rich brats turned elitist yuppies, so Geoff’s classmates behave just as poorly as he’d anticipated, years and newfound maturity doing nothing to stop the tittering laughter, the sneers and judgmental looks, fake pleasantry and condescending questions. But then, his crew didn’t exactly play nice with them either.
Ray and Jeremy immediately beeline to the food table and bar, respectively, and each set themselves up and settle in for the night; loud, obnoxious and tactlessly talking about everyone around them. When asked about themselves or their relationship to Geoff they’re both frustratingly vague, Jeremy chattering away without saying much at all and Ray simply staring people down until they can’t bear the tension.
Michael and Ryan set off together to explore the room but quickly separate to accommodate their vastly different methods of surveillance. Ryan skulks into the background, ducking numerous attempts to catch his interest in favour of fading into unlit corners and empty nooks, frightening the life out of anyone trying to slip away for some private time. Michael, on the other hand, seems determined to be the life of the party, cheerfully making conversation only to laugh in the face of every so-called achievement, ruffling feathers and causing major offence wherever he goes.
Gavin slinks off like a man on a mission and doesn’t come back for over an hour, offering no explanation for the absence beyond a dangerously self-satisfied smirk. His work becomes obvious soon enough anyway, once the yelling starts; Geoff’s two main high-school tormentors, mentioned only in passing stories over the years, simultaneously having huge, public, relationship-ending blow ups with each of their significant others. What are the odds? Across the hall Gavin laughs, all tinkling glass and sparkling charm, smoothly working the room like Michael’s mirror opposite.
Jack stays at Geoff’s side all night, hackles raised into something abnormally cold and unimpressed any time someone comes up to speak to them, protective instincts in full force no matter how often Geoff claims to be unaffected. He fills her in on all the worst gossip about those who approach, and as the night progresses and general unease begins to spread Jack mellows, sinking back into something sweet and mocking, somehow even more unsettling playing docile arm-candy than she was rabid guard dog.
Throughout the night the Fake AH Crew remain a key topic of every casual conversation; they might have been regardless, even this far from Los Santos no one can get enough of their scandals, but with the huge heist pulled just last week there was no way to avoid it, everyone has their two cents, their praise and condemnation. It’s too funny, the whole crew killing themselves trying not to break character, to laugh or correct or manipulate the conversation but all their self-control is well rewarded in the end.
Half the room removed their masks less than an hour into the night; too difficult to eat and talk and drink in, too vain to keep their hard earned looks covered, so it’s not at all strange when the Fake’s start to follow suit. Jeremy and Ray start it, the newest member and the one caught on camera the least often, casually dropping their masks mid-conversation. They each get a confused squint or two, a double glance, a few individuals trying to place them, remember how they’d met before, why they were so familiar.
Next came Gavin and Michael, having goaded each other out onto the dance-floor they were playing as much as they were moving to the music, laughing and grappling and generally making a bit of a scene. They snatch off each other’s masks as they play and the looks double, because alone they’re each distinctive but together, together, people have seen those faces together, somewhere they’ve seen them and so often together..
Last is Jack and Geoff, more graceful than their counterparts and moving with far more purpose they reveal their faces in the centre of the room and, like a party trick, they instantly catch the whole room’s attention. Out of context, in ones and twos where they don’t belong, the members of the FAHC could be mistaken but no one in the country would fail to recognise Ramsey and Patillo, the kingpin and his right hand, rulers of the most well-known gang in the US. And here they stand, casually mingling at a high school reunion.
In the calm before the storm the crew gravitates back towards one another, can almost see the cogs turning around them, the lightbulbs flickering on in a slow ripple spreading out across the room, disbelief and the first hint of horror swirling together as people start unconsciously reaching for their phones. As Ryan slips back out and wanders over, the last still masked, always masked, the chatter seems to crescendo then crash into something still and almost silent as a room full of entitled trust-fund babies recognise their own terror.
Finally uncovered and flanked by his family Geoff’s grin creeps across his face, slow and violent and more confirmation than anyone needed as he lets the oppressive tension sit for a long moment, arms spreading out to his sides like a magician revealing a clever trick before he breaks the silence; Surprise motherfuckers.
Guns are pulled from jackets and from there it’s all running and screaming, no honour or courage, just a stampede for the exits to the sound of cackling laughter and the occasional aimless pot-shot. The Fake’s aren’t looking for lives, not worth the hassle really, and this job certainly has no monetary reward beyond the wallets Geoff’s filthy little thieves have no doubt absconded with, but the fear in the air is delightful and even the sound of incoming sirens can’t ruin the mood. If anything it only hypes them up further, all savage grins and ramping excitement as they make for doors, reloading their weapons and pumping themselves up for a whole new police force to terrorise, Geoff’s magnificent little miscreants.
On the way out they pass a wall of yearbook photos, blown up large and captioned with names and all the old superlative awards. Ryan stumbles to a halt and snorts, snatching one off the wall and tucking it into his jacket to take back to the penthouse, though not before flashing the Lads a glance at that all too recognisable face, sending them into peals of screeching laughter as they pour out into the night. Geoffrey Fink; Least likely to succeed.
A/N: This isn’t my storyline! It’s an adaptation of @writingthingsisdifficult ‘s “Hiding no more” You all should go check out their page it’s awesome and has a ton of great fics! Ps. I’m going to write a part two soon! I have april break next week so expect a ton of new material:)