These two kinda went hand in hand so I decided to combine them. Thank you so much for the prompts and I am so sorry it took me a while to write them.
Ray has this thing about not dating crew members. He’s watched too many crews implode because so-and-so decided to date what’s-their-name only to break up. In retrospect, if a break up was the final straw leading to their downfall, those crews probably weren’t the best, but Ray has his convictions and so far he’d stuck to them.
Until Ryan and Gavin.
He’s never been this screwed before.
He meets Gavin first, the day after Geoff recruited him for FAH. He rides up to Ray’s apartment on a dirt bike he has clearly just bought, flips his sunglasses up onto his head, and grins.
“Depends,” Ray retorts crossing his arms, sizing the guy up. “You here to kill me?”
He laughs, shaking his head, and says, “Bit of a smartarse, aren’t you?”
“It’s part of my charm.”
The guy nods at the spot behind him. “C’mon. If we leave now, we’ll only be a little late to Geoff’s meeting.”
Ray’s reluctant to get on the bike, but he figures if this guy knows Geoff he’s probably not going to purposely kill him. Accidentally is another story entirely, but that’s a chance Ray’s willing to take. “Try not to crash,” he says getting on the back of the bike.
“I make no promises.” He revs the engine, pushing his sunglasses back over his eyes. “The name’s Gavin.”
“It’s a pleasure to….AH!” The bike darts forward at a dangerous speed and Ray grips Gavin tightly. He’s probably going to die.
Sandy hair, too much beard, a pair of ridiculous golden sunglasses, and a boyish charm masking a mischievous asshole, Gavin’s the first friend Ray makes since moving to Los Santos.
They become somewhat of a team (”X-Ray and Vav!” Ray jokes one day), and it’s not long before they’re inseparable. And yeah, maybe Ray’s crushing on Gavin a little, but it’s nothing he can’t ignore. The fact that they’re friends is enough for him, and anything more is a pipe dream he immediately steps on the moment he realizes what’s happening.
When Michael joins the crew, it gets easier. They become Team Lads, the three of them, and before Ray knows it he’s completely forgotten about his crush.
It’s when Lindsay joins and Ray notices the interest both she and Michael have in each other that he starts worrying he might have to start looking for a new crew to join, but his fears are short lived. They fit together too well to break up, and Ray starts thinking maybe it’s possible for couples to work together.
Only to remind himself that just because one couple figured out how to make it work did not mean every couple could make things work.
It’s just another pipe dream he crushes under his heel.
There’s a stitch in Ray’s side, his feet pounding against the pavement as he sprints across the slick concrete, his rifle strap digging into the side of his neck and shoulder. Two blocks back he lost his cell phone, cutting off all ties to any backup that could be coming his way, and he curses himself for telling Geoff he could do this job alone.
Lights flash ahead of him and he skids to a halt, desperately looking for somewhere to hide. Startled, he he feels hands grab him, one covering his mouth when he opens it to cry out.
He struggles as he’s dragged into a nearby building, but whoever has him has a tight grip on him, and he’s pretty sure he’s about to get murdered. This is it, he tells himself, this is the end. He really should have smoked the last of his weed before doing this job; now it’s going to go to waste. He paid really good money for it, too.
Well, if you’re about to get murdered, let’s take this asshole with us. Ray nods to himself, reaching for the switchblade he stashed in his pocket, but the hand covering his mouth moves, halting his progress.
“I’m really not in the mood to get stabbed tonight,” a deep voice purrs.
“Yeah, well, if you’re gonna murder me, it’s only fair I take you with me,” Ray retorts and he feels more than hears the guy laugh, his chest vibrating against Ray’s back.
“I see.” The guy’s quiet for a few seconds, listening to something, but finally he says, “I’m going to let you go, alright?”
“Somehow this seems too easy.”
“Or maybe I’m just a nice guy.”
The guy laughs again, releasing Ray, and takes a step back. Slowly, Ray turns to face the guy, sizing him up. His dark hair is tied back into a long ponytail and there’s something dangerous flickering in his startling blue eyes. He could be handsome, if not for the red and black paint smeared across his face, and Ray can clearly see a skull mask poking out of his coat pocket.
“Halloween was three months ago,” Ray states gesturing to the mask.
“And yet here you are, a would be assassin. Didn’t Daddy ever tell you not to play with guns?”
“Would you be Daddy in this scenario?” The remark is out of Ray’s mouth before he can stop it, and he really needs to work on that brain to mouth filter he seems to lack.
“T-the cops are probably gone,” the guy grunts, voice gruff, and Ray’s not sure if he’s angry or embarrassed. Regardless, he decides not to poke the bear and nods instead.
Together, the two of them exit the building, Once outside, they stand there awkwardly for a brief moment, but the guy breaks the silence first. “I’m sorry, you know, for grabbing you.”
“It happens. I’m sorry for…” What exactly is Ray sorry for? Accidentally throwing out an innuendo at his would be murderer? Wondering what exactly his face looks like without the paint? He didn’t know. “Well, you know…” his voice trails off and he shrugs.
Ray nods, burying his hands in his pocket. He rocks on his heels, looking up at the sky. Every part of him knows he should walk away from this guy and never see him again. Instead he asks, “You got a car nearby? Kinda need a ride and I’m pretty sure I don’t know where I’m at.”
“Honestly, I’m not sure where I’m at either,” the guy replies with a sheepish grin, shrugging. Ray hadn’t noticed before, but now he detects an accent. Something southern. He wonders how long this guy has been in Los Santos.
“I guess we can walk,” Ray suggests already hating the idea but knowing they didn’t have a lot of options that didn’t attract police attention. “We’re bound to find something familiar.”
“As long as you promise not to kill me.”
“I make no promises.”
Ray and Ryan work together periodically for almost a year before Geoff gets wind of the partnership. At first, Ray thinks Geoff is going to be mad, but he’s surprised when he’s asked to recruit Ryan.
“I’m not sure he’s a team player,” Ray says when Geoff’s brings up the idea.
“Look, unless you two are fucking, he’s a team player.”
“I mean, technically even if they are fucking he’s still a team player,” Michael says from across the room and Geoff concedes the point.
“We’re not fucking,” Ray grumbles heading towards the door, calling over his shoulder, “and I make no promises.”
“It doesn’t hurt to ask!”
Ryan’s not exactly sold on the idea, but he tells Ray he’ll think about it. Ray’s not exactly into the idea either, but for an entirely different reason. One he’s not sure he’ll never be ready to acknowledge, but Geoff’s right. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and logically Ryan would be a perfect fit in FAH. Even if he’s a little too reckless.
When Ryan agrees to join FAH, it’s one of those moments where Ray is equal parts pleased and disappointed. He gets over it really quickly though, knowing life’s too short to let regrets consume him, and decides to bring Gavin along when Geoff tells him to bring Ryan in to meet the rest of the crew.
The moment those two meet, Ray knows they forget he’s in the room. Something clicks between them, something Ray has no intention of ruining, and he ducks out of the room as quietly as he can, trying to ignore the way his chest tightens.
It’s like a test of wits between those two, a dance they’ve perfect, and it’s not long before the crew picks up on whatever is going on between Gavin and Ryan.
Jack, while apprehensive, gives them her warm regards. Michael scowls at Ryan for a good twenty minutes before threatening to rip his balls off if he hurt Gavin. Lindsay smiles but doesn’t say anything, her eyes darting towards Ray so fast he almost doesn’t catch it.
He decides to ignore it.
It’s Geoff’s reaction they’re all waiting for; he’s been unnaturally quiet since he found out, and Ray is convinced he’s still in denial. When he finally acknowledges the relationship, he looks between the two and says, “Don’t fuck in my penthouse.”
Ray finds himself hanging out with Gavin and Ryan less and less. It’s not from their lack of trying, both inviting him out to do stuff all the time, but he keeps declining their offers. He wouldn’t say he’s avoiding them, more like hiding in plain sight.
Lindsay and Jack keep giving him sympathetic smiles, and even Michael is patting him on the shoulder way too often, and really it’s fine. Ray’s fine. They’re looking too closely at something that doesn’t need to be looked at, and their pity is starting to piss him off a little bit.
The only ones who seem oblivious are the happy couple themselves and Geoff. At least Ray thinks Geoff’s oblivious until he catches him off guard when he comes out of the bathroom and asks, “How are you holding up, buddy?”
“If this is a new thing? You following us to the bathroom? Count me out.”
“Ray, I know.”
Geoff gives him a pointed look and Ray rolls his eyes. He throws his hands out and rants, “I am fine. Totally fine. I will do cartwheels, waving flags that say ‘I am fine’ if it will convince everyone that I am fine.” He pushes past Geoff, stalking towards the living room, calling over his shoulder, “I’m fine, Geoff. I promise.”
He’s not stupid; he’s definitely not fine. Ray spent most of his life lying to people, telling them things they wanted to hear, that when he finally got around to lying to himself he’s incapable of believing anything his stupid brain tells him.
He kicks a rock, sending it rocketing across the road, watching as it hits a newspaper vending machine. He wishes he had his rifle; he could blow out the tires of the cars parked in the street; ruining peoples’ days cathartic for some reason.
His phone buzzes in his pocket and he pulls it out, checking the screen. He sighs, finger hovering over the ignore button, but he moves it a second later, answering the call.
“You get lost again?”
“I’ll have you know, I’ve been here long enough to learn the street names,” Ryan replies and Ray can practically see him smiling. He also sees the smiles fall when Ryan asks, “You alright?”
Ray almost says he’s fine, almost lies to Ryan like he’s been lying to everyone else, but instead he shakes his head. “No. No, I’m not alright. I’m pretty fucking far from alright.”
“Do you wanna talk about it?”
“I-I can’t.” Ray hangs up, turning his phone off, and shoves it into his back pocket.
He hangs his head, closing his eyes, breathing slowly. He needs to get a grip. This isn’t helping anyone, much less himself, and he’s acting like an asshole. If he’s not careful, he might be asked to leave the crew.
He opens his eyes, picking his head up, turning to head home, only to take a fist to the side of the face.
He hits the ground, ears ringing, head pounding, but he still manages to say, “Please don’t say welcome to the family.”
The last thing he hears is someone snort before a boot comes down on his face.
He wakes up in the back of a van, his head pillowed on something warm. The motion beneath him makes him nauseous and he squeezes his eyes shut, willing himself not to throw up.
“You awake?” a soft, familiar voice asks above him and Ray grunts, rubbing his face against his makeshift pillow. It’s someone’s leg, the material of their jeans rough against his skin.
“What happened?” he asks groggily, words a little slurred, keeping his eyes closed.
“One of Geoff’s enemies,” another voice, this one just as close, says, and Ray feels someone grab his left hand, gripping it tightly between both of their’s. “If I hadn’t seen you on a traffic cam, we wouldn’t have known where you’d be.”
“I’m sorry.” He’s not sure what he’s apologizing for, he has too many things to be sorry for; maybe he’s apologizing for everything, but he needs them to understand. He doesn’t hate them, he could never hate them. He’s too in love with them both to hate them. “I’m sorry,” he repeats, the words barely audible.
He feels someone lean over him, pressing their lips to the side of his head, and whisper, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
This is the first time in a while that Ray’s felt even a little bit content, and he hopes he can hold onto this feeling for as long as possible.