want something

There was a point, during The Rise, when it became abundantly clear to the disreputable denizens of Los Santos that unless drastic measures were taken the Fake’s were going to succeed in their play for the city. Some of those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, who wanted the city for themselves or at least the patches they’d carved out as their own, negotiated a deal. A temporary truce between a handful of the biggest names in the area. An alliance to bring down the ragtag upstarts before their unprecedented domination completely took hold.

It was a bloody uprising that had taken them all by surprise. The FAHC had slunk into Los Santos, established themselves well enough to bully their way into a modest little bit of territory but not nearly enough to draw attention, to cause alarm. Wouldn’t have been any different from any of the dozens of little gangs that rise and fall on the fringes of the godforsaken city if not for their leader. The infamous Geoff Ramsey, fallen so far from grace. 

Slumming it in Los Santos, Ramsey appears to have collected what could charitably be called a crew. The only other member of any notable worth is Pattillo; a powerhouse in her own right but too blindly loyal to see the sense in walking away from Ramsey’s downward spiral. The rest of the group is less inspiring. They seem to have contracted some nameless mercenary, a big guy who’s always wearing a ridiculous fur-lined coat and an ever-changing cheap plastic party mask like he thinks he’s some kind of Hollywood villain. That’s pretty par for the course with mercenaries though, melodramatic bastards.  

The other three unknown wonders appear to have been recruited right out of school; bright eyed, bushy tailed and babyfaced, a cacophony of garish bravado, unrefined talent and misplaced pride. Ramsey’s pet British import is a nosey brat with sticky fingers, the short-tempered Jerseyite can’t keep his cool long enough to let his perpetually bloodied knuckles heal, and the wanna-be sniper is more invested in feigning disinterest and painting his guns ironically vivid colours than he is in being more than a halfway decent shot.

Still, disaster or not, more than one group keeps and eye on them at first; Geoff might look down and out but no one just ignores a Rooster. The result of this surveillance is.. unflattering. A series of ridiculously low-level jobs with pitiful takes, messy out-of-sync teamwork, public arguments and complete disrespect; it’s pretty clear Ramsey has no idea how to run a decent crew, not even the kids seem to be scared of him. Even their base is a travesty; where the big gangs have bought up the penthouses of inner-city Los Santos, Ramsey and his menagerie are working with some sort of shoebox apartment somewhere out in the boonies. It’d be downright sad if it wasn’t so funny.

It takes a bit of time to confirm but eventually it is universally agreed that the FAHC were no kind of threat, that Ramsey had totally lost his touch. Eventually everyone stops looking any deeper than the occasional check in following some amusing flop, more a dose of schadenfreude than any true threat analysis.  

So when the ripples start no one thinks much of it; the Fake AH Crew take out and run off a couple of little gangs, not a big deal – the dregs are always snapping at each other, pushing for more territory, if anything the Fakes are overdue. It only makes sense that they’ve started to run bigger jobs, and no one notices the way they’re now pulling them off effortlessly, with no sign of their previous ineptitude, the way they’re starting to make waves.

It’s more or less a fucking tsunami by the time the penny drops, the FAHC crashing in on other crew’s jobs, taking out their warehouses, hitting their bases; maybe whatever dump they’re holing up in isn’t glamorous but the overcrowded rat’s nest of the outer sectors’ of the city prevent anyone from repaying the favour and trailing the Fake’s back home. They’re clawing their way up the ladder with alarming speed, expanding their reach so rapidly it’s nearly impossible to keep track, and Ramsey watches over it all. Dressed to the nines in an extravagant suit to match his shiny new attitude, reserved control and smug satisfaction, already patting himself on the back, celebrating his perceived victory.

Something had to be done. Individual attacks are mounted, of course, but the FAHC have grown wily, have revealed themselves to be more of a threat than any had anticipated. The trust-fund baby stops fumbling and shows his fangs, their loose canon gets his hands on a seemingly endless supply of explosives and out of nowhere the questionable sniper never misses a shot. Indisputably the worst reveal of all, though, is the mercenary. Dropping his ridiculous fur coat and plastic masks for a jacket he wears like a second skin and a skull no one could mistake, his name whispered all over the city like a collective gasp, a shared curse; Vagabond.

So all of a sudden those in power in Los Santos found themselves with a hell of a fucking problem on their hands. It was getting out of control, they were losing everything, so they band together. Four of the most influential groups in Los Santos’ underbelly, usually at violent odds over contested territory but prepared to set it all aside until this matter is dealt with. Until the Fake AH Crew have been taught exactly what happens to upstarts in their city.

The plan, when they settle it, is a basic as can be: divide and conquer. If they can seperate the group, keep the two in charge occupied then tell the rest their leaders have fallen it will all be over. Clearly Ramsey’s got something of the Roosters in him still, and Jack is a goddamn demon when she’s protecting her boss, but the remainder of the crew will surely crumble under pressure.

As horrifying as he is the Vagabond is still a mercenary, is still driven by nothing more than money at the end of the day, and when he hears that his payday is gone his facsimile of loyalty is sure to follow. After that the kids won’t last long, cocky little shits or not once they’re all alone they’ll flee the city with their tails between their legs or die trying, and there there will only be two. Ramsey might have more bite left in him that they’d thought but he’s made no friends in this city, has no nearby allies to fall back on, and veteran’s of the business or not two people can’t hold up against entire gangs for long.

But, of course, it doesn’t exactly work out that way. It’s all going to plan, almost textbook, but the one thing no one took into account was the ludicrous ingenious of Geoff’s ability to play the long game.

See Geoff wasn’t wasting those early months, tiny hauls didn’t bother him at all because the target had never been the money. Geoff had money for days, for years in fact, what he need was a crew. A crew who knew each other’s every strength, flaw and habit, who’d dealt with living on top of each other; forced through sheer proximity to start lowering walls. The little jobs let them feel each other out without much consequence, find their rhythm as a group, test relationships under pressure, boredom and frustration. Maybe they hadn’t looked like much, had been intentionally avoiding showing their true colours, but Geoff made himself a crew who not only worked as one but had come to actually care for one another, trust each other and were, above all else, loyal. That’s the kind of connection no amount of money can buy, no degree of fearful respect can fake, and no mere threat can shake apart.

So when they say Geoff and Jack are gone, torn away right at the precipice of everything they had been working for, the reaction is somewhat less than desirable.  

When the Vagabond hears he doesn’t cut and run, doesn’t consider himself duty-free, an impartial witness to the death of a client. Ryan thinks liars, thinks no chance in hell, thinks kill them anyway. His knee-jerk reaction is to leap into action, relish in the wholesale murder he’s been putting off for months, but he isn’t just the Vagabond anymore. Ryan’s got the Lads to think about, standing a few steps behind him in a move they’ll surely mock him for later but it’s second nature now, trying to keep them safe. For a given definition of safe. The FAHC has given back a part of himself that he’d thought was lost forever, shattered bone-deep loneliness and rekindled joy and security and meaningless affection. Ryan would die before losing that all over again; he might be more than just the Vagabond but Ryan has never been particularly forgiving.

There’s a choked off sound from behind him and in that split second Ryan has a choice to make. Geoff would call their bluff, demand to see the bodies; Jack would tell the Lads to be smart, to think about the flaws in the story; the Vagabond would execute the threat for their insolence before slipping off into the night, but Ryan just takes a deep breath. Smiles his nastiest smile and steps to the side, waving the Lads forward with a jerk of his head, bracing himself for the carnage.

Because rather than breaking their will, when the Lads are told Geoff and Jack are gone they flip their goddamn shit. Gavin loves this crew unlike anything he has ever loved, emotions so fierce he’s surprised even himself, the found family he’d burn down the whole world to keep. Michael breathes loyalty, has always done, but his devotion has never been unquestioning obedience and the FAHC is the first crew who have rewarded his refusal to be a blind pawn; for all he huffs and complains Geoff has always welcomed intelligent debate, no matter how irreverently it’s proposed. And then there’s Ray, who’s leaning that having a crew doesn’t require the sacrifice of independence, that leaning on others won’t always be a let down and sometimes coming down from his perch and getting amongst the action is worth the mess; it’s a work in progress but he’s not ready to lose it yet.

It doesn’t matter how implausibly convenient the boasting sounds, how easily calm heads could pick apart the lies; the thought alone is more than enough to have all three seeing red. Things were going to get messy no matter what, but Ryan’s explicit blessing was fuel on an already considerable fire, and they don’t hesitate tear past him and into the fray. Ryan follows, of course, and there’s something almost cathartic in it, an assassin amongst a hurricane of fury, infinitely more efficient alone but surprisingly proud of their merciless bloodbath, an amused artist cleaning up after enthusiastic students.

It’s Ryan who gets them moving again afterwards, when street’s have fallen quiet and there’s no one left to punish, feeling very much the responsible adult as he herds them down the road, a shepherd with a particularly murderous flock.

It doesn’t take them long to track down Geoff and Jack, alive and well and just finished cleaning up their own mess. Geoff’s suit, proudly protected from all but the slightest singeing despite this ordeal of a day, is completely written off when he’s tacked into a filthy hug, Jack graciously allowing herself to be drawn into the mess despite grumbling about her aching ribs as Ray and Ryan stand to the side and share a look that is as much look at what we have as it is look what we put up with. They’re all bloody and bruised and strung out on too much adrenaline and too little sleep but they’re back together, they’re all alive, and it still tastes like victory. Like succession.

With the city’s former top dogs burning in the street, an irrefutable display of terrifying talent to overwrite all past assumptions and a ruthless reputation that’s spreading father in every passing moment, the FAHC couldn’t be in a better position to claim ownership of Los Santos. The infamous City of Saints, safe-haven of sinners, bowing under one supreme power for the first time in it’s less than illustrious history, newfound royalty slipping in like poison and bringing the city to its knees.

*thinks about all the little moments from the show when Ford seems to have to remind himself that he’s angry at Stan. When he looks at that family photo during freshman orientation and it takes him a while to glare at it. The way he looks at Stan when they’re standing in front of the mirror in the Mystery Shack in ATOTS. His face when Stan puts a hand on his shoulder. All those little sad notes about Stan in the journal that he crosses out but still keeps writing. How the dream hipster nightmare about Stan turns scariest when Stan’s the one getting hurt. How he lashes out at Stan during the portal scene even while he’s got that childhood photo in his pocket. All the boats around the Mystery Shack. All the photos and home movies he kept.*

The reason Ford lies loudest to himself about Stan is because that’s the lie he finds hardest to believe.

please don't reblog

do y'all remember a while ago, when I had found an adult a teenager had lost contact with and asked if they’d write a nice letter to the kid? and they did? and the nice letter also said “heck I’d take you!” and I was like MOTHERFUCKER I am showing up at your house

anyway

I did

that person can’t take the kid

but their sibling was there and said they’d do it

we’re starting the paperwork

it might not work out, nothing is ever for sure, but good lord it is nice when good people somehow fall the fuck out of the sky like that

2

in the space between ;; an introduction

“she’s arriving today, you gonna be okay?”

“please don’t remind me,” clarke moans softly, leaning on the board as her partner glides closer.

“i give it under twenty-four hours,” bellamy’s words are lined with mischief, a sunny smile stretching his freckled cheeks. 

“until what?”

“until someone finds the two of you wrapped around each other in a utility closet.”