Ray is fine. Ray is perfectly fine, and he’s not slowly trying or regretting his life decisions, and he’s definitely not on the roof of the AH Tower because he- No, of course not. He looks around, appreciating the crushed beer cans and stubbed out cigarettes scattered in corners as well as the faint graffiti here and there from before anyone owned the building. A quiet night breeze blows over Achievement City, wafting the smells of food, exhaust and an underlying salty breeze from the shore, along with the sounds of a city settling down for the night. From his vantage point, Ray can see the lights of AC, warm and twinkling, as if inviting him in, and above him, the low humming of a plane leaving the airport, its lights blinking along with the rest of the stars in the sky. This high up, the light from the street lamps can’t affect him, and he’s treated to an entire scenic panorama of what seems like a million silver stars stuck in the navy sky like thumbtacks to an inky board. It feels like home.
There’s an itch in his bones, a need to find a job, rob a bank or off a politician, feel the thrill of the chase coursing through his blood as he crows with delight and utter recklessness, but he quiets it, at least for tonight. Ray’s been on his own long enough to know when he’s at his limit, and he’s pushing it. Six jobs in a month, he’s at the top of his game (he’s not overcompensating, he’s not, he’s fine) and the offers are streaming in, but even he needs a break.
And okay, Ray’s not stupid, he knows he misses them, goddamn does he miss them. He misses the Fake AH crew like in a way he’s never quite missed anything before. He misses how close they all were, how they’d curl up on the couches after heists, coming down from their adrenaline high and talking, rapid-fire, everyone piled up on each other, hands curled around arms, legs, the shared glee when you lock eyes with anyone else after the heist, like whispering, we got away with it, we’re the best, we rule the world. Misses how close they all were, that Geoff could assign any combination and it’d work, and it’d work well, (sometimes he hated the way he never jumped whenever someone came up without warning, as if his own body was betraying him, was selling him out to the enemy, he was too comfortable, he wasn’t on guard anymore. he wasn’t soft, and yet he was, he was.) Misses the way they’d plan heists, everyone caught up in the excitement, shouting and laughing and talking over each other, hands clapped over mouths to silence each other because- “Gavin, shut the fuck up, you fucking idiot!” and Geoff in the background chortling, and either trying to pacify them or egging on the fight, depending on how he was feeling. He misses his easy camaraderie with Michael, how they can laugh and blow shit up and play Halo and fight and still be best friends afterwards, he misses Jack’s open affection, the way his hugs were always comforting and wonderful, like being enveloped in actual happiness. He misses Gavin, their long-running jokes about being superheroes, (the irony, of course, being that they’re the complete opposite, they’re the people superheroes swear to fight, they’re not the good guys in this situation, and at this point you either laugh it off or acknowledge how far you’ve skewed your moral compass.) He misses Geoff, whose presence always comforted Ray and left him reeling at the same time, the older man always in control, sitting easy like a dragon guarding his hoard, powerful without even trying, and the knowledge that he, Ray, and the rest of their misfit family were that treasure that Geoff had worked so hard to protect- he feels, for lack of a less cliche term, wanted. He certainly misses Ryan, misses the way the mercenary showed them everything, piece by piece, dropping the Vagabond act for a blue-eyed man with fair hair and a smile no less dangerous than that of his mask, who was fatally adept with a knife but hadn’t played Pokemon before, who brought Ray food and drinks when his insomnia demanded him to stay awake, who stayed until he’d fallen asleep, who’d covered him with his jacket and fervently denied it in the morning. Goddamn, Ray misses them. And he won’t deny it, he loves them, all five of them, in all sorts of confusing ways he can’t properly untangle into platonic or romantic or both. so much that every time they were all in the same place, no matter what they were doing, on a job or playing games or eating or even just coexisting in the same room, Ray would feel an uncomfortable swell of emotion, rising up and crashing over him in waves, as if their love is an ocean, and he’s drowning in it. It’s overwhelming, choking, even, and he’s almost irrationally frightened of it. And anything that scares him, Ray Narvaez Jr, the best sniper in the business, he has to eliminate. Ray might be a lot of things, stupid, insensitive, even cowardly, but he’s not oblivious. The tension between the six of them at the time had been at a high, and he knows if he’d stayed, just held on a little longer, they would’ve all fallen into something together; whether it would’ve been just a casual fuck or something more, Ray’ll never find out. Quiet footsteps up the stairs, and the roof access creaks open, followed by more quiet steps. Ray doesn’t move an inch, barely tensing as he runs down the list of concealed weapons on his person- “Knives in the sleeves, handgun in the holster, hidden belt buckle shiv, hook in your socks, more concealed knives in your boots. Did I miss anything?” The deep voice makes a shiver run down Ray’s spine and he swallows, not turning as he replies. “Second holster, another handgun.” There’s more, of course, he’s never shown his whole hand of cards to anyone, and both of them know that. There’s a hum of acknowledgement, and the shadowy figure sits down next to Ray. “Saw you on the security cams. Not very subtle.” “I knew it was just you on watch tonight.” “Flattered, I’m sure.” Ray’s mouth quirks up at one side, and he finally turns to face the Vagabond. His first thought is that Ryan looks terrible. It’s only been a month or two since he left, but it looks like Ryan’s insomnia has come back with a vengeance, dark purple eyebags visible even in the weak light. It’s a flashback to when they first started sleeping together, not even in a sexual way, and they’d both begun to regulate their sleep schedules. He remembers the way Ryan’s eyebags had faded slowly, energy returning to his demeanour the longer they’d spent together. To see all that painstaking progress lost, thanks to him- A wave of guilt washes over him, and he shoves it down with practiced ease. “Here.” An ice cold can is pressed into his hand, and he smiles, cracking the can of soda. Ryan’s lips twitch into the semblance of a smile, and he leans back, looking up at the city skyline, raising his own can to his lips. Ray’s about to say something, make small talk or ask how the rest are doing before it gets awkward, but Ryan beats him to it. “Why’d you leave?” And there it is. Not even a moment of hesitation, just the simple question. Ray takes his time drinking, letting the seconds stretch out before replying. But really, what’s he supposed to say? What can he say at this point, after he’s packed his stuff and moved out, left a note that doesn’t explain anything and a voicemail, later, that explained even less? What has he left to say to these five men who mean so much to him, whom he could even- “It was too much.” He shrugs, all too aware of the space between them, so small yet so irretrievable. Ryan just nods, once. “You could have told us.” “I could have.” Not, ‘I should have’, and Ray knows it was the correct reply, but he can’t bring himself to fall back into this, this caring for the rest. “Do you regret it?” And Ray’s not really thinking anymore, but he doesn’t need to think to know the answer to this one. He takes a mindless swig of soda, just to prolong it. “Of course.” “You could come back, you know.” Ray makes the mistake of looking at him, looking at the veiled pleading in his piercing blue eyes. And he can see how much Ryan’s putting on the line here, dropping his defences, knocking his walls down for Ray. He has no doubt that while Geoff was furious, Gavin was devastated, Michael was raging, Jack was crying, Ryan was the one he’d hurt, betrayed the most. And he can see the future, if he comes back to the crew. He’ll be welcomed back, surrounded by crushing hugs and tears all around, and they’ll all fall back into the rhythm of things together, maybe even pick up where they left off, and for a second, for a glorious second, he wants to accept. Ray shakes his head, and he can hear Ryan’s quiet exhale. There’s silence, now, a moment of mourning for things none of them can come back from, but finally, he breaks it. He owes him this much. “C'mere.” Ryan inches closer, seemingly uncertain, but when Ray reaches out to tangle their hands together, he comes willingly, and all too easily they arrange themselves together, legs thrown carelessly and arms wrapped around each other. Ray leans his head into Ryan’s chest, savouring the warmth that starkly contrasts the chill night air. It’s everything he’s wanted since all of them had started getting into this mess, and everything he’s never quite let himself have. A feather-light kiss drops to his curls, and he smiles, closing his eyes. Above him, he knows Ryan’s finally doing the same.
They wake as hints of daylight begin to peek over the horizon, stiff limbs untangling slowly. There’s a moment of awkwardness where they can’t meet each other’s eyes, but it breaks quickly like it always does, and Ryan gives him a smile, the soft one that always gets to Ray, right where it hurts. He doesn’t bother to smile back, knowing that even if he tries, it’ll just make things worse, and picks up his sniper rifle, turning to pack his shit. He steps back, looks up at Ryan, who’s still smiling, and they just look at each other for a moment. It’s not him that breaks the silence, but it’s a hollow victory all the same. “I suppose I won’t be seeing you for a long while.” Ray shakes his head. “Probably not. I’m thinking about laying low for a while, maybe going somewhere else.” Ryan just nods, and steps forward, right into his personal space, cupping his jaw and leaning in. The kiss is deep but gentle, not so much a declaration of love as a farewell, and somewhere in the back of his mind that’s not involved in giving as good as he gets, he’s grateful that it would end this way, that he can say goodbye to Ryan like this. When they break apart, Ryan steps back and watches as he climbs the railing and leaps from the rooftop, rolling and landing neatly on the one next to it. He turns to blow the mercenary a kiss, and doesn’t look back after that. He does burn the sight of Ryan into his mind’s eye, however, the mercenary leaning on the railing, eyes fixed on him, a bittersweet smile tugging at his lips, pressing two fingers to his forehead in a two-fingered salute. Ray misses the Fakes badly, every single one of them, but it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is his next job, his next move. The tiny part of his mind that still lingers over the past is shoved to the back, and he immediately begins calculating. There’s a girl who moves in circles that move in circles with him; she calls herself Doomsday and he’s heard word that she’s pulling off a two-man job and needs a sniper. He’ll find out more, see if he’s interested.
Whatever it is, he’s moving forward now, and there’s no looking back.
Here’s a quick little transparent drawing of Geoff’s House in Minecraft. I know it’s not exact, but I was looking to make a new image for my sidebar and thought I might as well post it. Feel free to use it yourself if you want, but credit would be appreciated. Thanks.
There is a SERIOUS lack of everything RT, AH and RWBY on my dash recently, so reblog/like this post if you post any of the above and I’ll follow the shit out of all of you! I would appreciate it if you would give me a follow as well, but seeing as I’m not a solely RT blog, I can get why you wouldn’t :P Ta very muchly!!