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Mad Season

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It’s never a good thing when Gavin has that “Everything’s going to be just fine, but perhaps we should be taking a closer look at what our exit options are,” look in his eye.

Compound things with the fact they’re on a job for Geoff, and it’s not looking great.

“Don’t panic but I think we might have accidentally gotten married.”

“What?”

Gavin’s laughing, high and nervous and definitely not meeting Ryan’s eyes as he flutters about their motel room fussing with his gear. Keeps a wide berth around the bed where he dropped a mailing envelope the front office had called him down to retrieve in front of Ryan, said a courier service delivered it.

“Wemighthaveaccidentallygottenmarried!” he says, like it’s a lovely day and they almost didn’t die the night before and Ryan’s head doesn’t ache like someone tried to crack it open with a crowbar.

Like Gavin doesn’t have bandages along his ribs from some fucker with a knife, isn’t wearing some tacky scarf he snagged from a street vendor to hide the hand-shaped bruises on his neck from someone else who wanted them super fucking dead.

They’d finished the job though, gotten out alive if not whole.

Gavin got them out and back to their motel and patched up. Waiting on Ryan to get back on his feet before heading back to Los Santos.

“Gavin,” Ryan says, closing his eyes because all that motion hurts to look at. Especially with the way Gavin seems so damn certain the world’s about to end. “What the hell are you talking about?”

There’s this little clattering noise, Gavin’s muffled swearing and then -

“I panicked,” Gavin says, low and quiet and scared. “Last night. I panicked, Ryan.”

That’s -

They almost died, because someone either gave Geoff bad intel or the bastards Geoff sent them after knew they were coming. (Same thing in the end, isn’t it?)

“It’s okay,” Ryan says opening his eyes, because Gavin wasn’t even supposed to be in the thick of things. Was supposed to stay in the dumb little van the rental place gave them where it was safe. Not haring off after Ryan when they realized how fucked this whole job was. “You did - “

“You were out of your mind and there was nowhere to go,” Gavin says, hands coming down hard on the top of the dresser, his back to Ryan. “And there was this stupid little chapel, right? Like something out of Geoff’s terrible movies.”

Geoff does love shitty movies. And shitty television, and shitty everything, really.

“So I thought,” Gavin says, and there’s this note to his voice that Ryan hasn’t heard in years, when Gavin thinks he’s well and truly fucked something up. “Like an idiot, I thought ‘oh here’s a stroke of luck, what perfect timing!’ because the cops were looking for us and you - “

Gavin breaks off with a laugh and finally turns around to face Ryan, but the expression on his face -

- “you’re heavier than you look, Ryan,” Gavin says, and if Ryan wasn’t looking at him, he’d think it was just another of his random comments, some little offshoot of whatever he’s thinking about.

Unintentionally insulting because apparently Gavin was raised by wolves or in a barn or somewhere people don’t know about manners.

“I’m big-boned,” Ryan says, because he’s an idiot, and it’s an old joke between them by now.

One that doesn’t seem to have the usual effect on Gavin because he just keeps winding himself up tighter and tighter. Shoulders hunching as he talks, and Ryan wants nothing more than to reach out to him, but he’s afraid it would do more harm than good.

“They were so helpful,” Gavin says, like that’s somehow a failing. “All these papers, and they thought you’d had too much to drink and said it was fine, no worries. It was all just a formality and if I wanted they could look the other way while I signed for you.”

This is starting to slide from deeply alarming to deeply confusing amazingly quickly because this doesn’t sound like something about to get them killed. Actually sounds a lot like one of Geoff’s terrible movies, because this is Vegas after all, and people do stupid things here all the time.

Run off here and get hitched at some little chapel on a whim, some little bit of reckless abandon taking hold of them and regret setting in later when everything was said and done.

“Said we might want to wait on the ceremony until you could participate and why not sit in on one to see what it was all about and then they sent this,” Gavin says, gesturing to the mailing envelop.

Ryan glances at the envelop Gavin can’t bring himself to look at. Slowly pieces things together because his brain’s rattling around in his head from last night.

Gavin’s still not meeting his eyes, fidgeting with the cuff of his shirt.

For the life of him, Ryan cannot figure out what has him so damn spooked.

“I thought - ” Gain says, talking to the stain on the cuff of his shirt. “I don’t know what I thought, really. Maybe that the cops wouldn’t think to interrupt the ceremony or something equally stupid, and they seemed insistent the paperwork be in order, so I just. I signed. For both of us.”

That sounds all kinds of illegal, but Ryan’s knowledge of the law tends more towards felony larceny and murder-ish and he’s not an expert on this side of things.

“Gavin.”

“I’m sure we could get the damn thing annulled,” Gavin’s saying. “If it’s legally binding to begin with.”

Ryan picks the envelope up and sorts through the documents inside while Gavin continues to fidget. Looks like he’d vibrate out of his skin if he could.

There’s a letter from the chapel, a thank you for choosing them for their special day. Vouchers for various shops and points of interest along the strip.

A marriage certificate with both of their signatures, and Gavin makes this little noise in his throat when Ryan stares at it.

“I know I didn’t have the right, that it’s not something - we’re - not something like that, but I wasn’t thinking.” Gavin laughs, something bitter to it. “I understand if you want to...stop after this. It went on long enough anyway, didn’t it? Nice run of things and all.”

Ryan’s head snaps up at the way Gavin’s voice breaks at that last.

“Gavin,” Ryan says, feeling slow and stupid at the way Gavin still won’t look at him.

At the way he seems so damned uncertain, like Ryan hasn’t been clear when it comes to this thing they’re doing. Hasn’t told Gavin in words that it’s not just the stupid little arrangement they came to early on. Fuck buddies and nothing more because their line of work is stressful and it was convenient, wasn’t it, easy.

That it stopped being about that a long time ago because they’re stupid bastards who thought they were smarter than this. Knew better than to get attached, that it never ended well for people like them, and yet -

“Come here,” Ryan says, and winces at the way Gavin fights down a flinch.

Ryan clears his throat and tries again, guilt weighing on him because somehow he never said and now Gavin’s tying himself in knots thinking he’s crossed a line. Ruined whatever they had. That Ryan’s so cold-hearted, closer to what the rumors make him out to be than something approaching a decent human being.

“Please, Gavin.”

And Gavin, because he’s Gavin, does.

Not immediately and not without these stuttery little steps, like he can’t refuse but wishes he could. Maybe hopes for some kind of divine intervention, so maybe if he drags his feet just a little -

“Hey,” Ryan says, when Gavin’s legs hit the side of the bed. Reaches up like he’s wanted to since Gavin started his panicked babbling, like he thought Ryan would be angry with him, curve of Gavin's cheek under his palm. “Gavin, look at me?”

There’s a long moment where he thinks Gavin won’t. Thinks he’s messed things up between them so badly Gavin can’t, but this is Gavin and he does.

Brave little smile on his face like oh, hello there, Ryan, everything’s fine and dandy and what a funny little misunderstanding this all is, isn’t it? Hilarious story to tell the others when we get back.

“We’re idiots,” Ryan says. “I’m an idiot.”

He knew going into things it was a bad idea, that he’s never been good at being honest with himself when it comes to these things. Likes to pretend he knows what he’s doing, that it’s not going to end up a muddled disaster of his own making because Ryan liked Gavin before they started this.

Clever and funny and braver than he thinks he is.

“Married, huh?” Ryan asks, because of all the things he expected to hear that was not one of them.

Gavin smiles, this small, twitchy thing. “Ryan, I - “

“I mean,” Ryan continues, “I can’t say that I ever saw myself getting married in Vegas, but there are worse things.”

Gavin frowns, little furrow between his eyes like he’s not sure where Ryan’s going with this,what angle he’s taking.

“Like what?”

Being Geoff, for one.

Riding herd on a bunch of assholes like them day in and day out without end.

Speaking of -

“Geoff’s going to be pissed if you don’t make him your best man you know,” Ryan says.

Remembers Geoff’s drunken ramblings about it years ago, angry and indignant at the very thought Gavin would choose someone over him for that role. Gavin laughing and utterly bewildered at what brought that up, and Ryan watching in bewilderment because what the hell are these people?

“Don’t be cruel,” Gavin says, stepping back, fingers furling into loose fists. “I know - “

“I love you,” Ryan says, blurts it out like an idiot, but he can’t stand the hurt look in Gavin’s eyes, the misunderstanding that’s sunk its claws in Gavin this deeply he never noticed.

Gavin’s gone so very still, eyes locked with Ryan's.

Something fragile in his eyes and Ryan’s heart in his throat.

“I love you,” Ryan repeats. “And like an idiot I could never find the right time to tell you, but I thought you knew, so it was fine. That it could wait until I did.”

And now look at them.

“What?”

Gavin looks like he thinks it’s a trap, wary and suspicious and Ryan doubles down on the guilt.

“You know I’m no good with the whole,” Ryan makes a vague gesture meant to encapsulate the wide array of human emotion.

Things Ryan has, but is a disaster at expression unless it’s utter delight at chaos and destruction or the underlying fondness for his crew. Anything stronger, more personal like what he feels for Gavin is a tangled mess he can’t seem to manage like a functioning adult.

Gavin snorts, corners of his mouth quirking.

“Eloquent,” he says, cautiously teasing.

Ryan just looks at Gavin because he knows full well Ryan is hardly the most eloquent person around. Likes his big, fancy words and all, but flubs half of them and when someone aggravates him it’s a free-for-all.

“You love me,” Gavin says, like it’s some unfathomable concept, like Ryan could never do such a thing. “Me.”

That last one is more like Ryan’s an idiot for doing so, and the look Gavin shoots him confirms it.

“Yes.”

It’s a simple truth, that.

The sky is blue, water is wet. Geoff’s life is endless suffering, and Ryan is stupidly in love with Gavin.

Gavin moves closer, places a hand on Ryan’s face, feather light touch like he’s afraid Ryan’s going to take it all back, claim it was a slip of the tongue.

“We really are idiots, aren’t we?” Gavin asks, as though he’s somehow failed to notice this fact in all the time they’ve known each other.

“You say that like it’s a surprise,” Ryan says.

“Harsh, but fair,” Gavin says, as he sits beside Ryan, hand dropping to his lap.

Awkward and uncertain and Ryan pulls him into a hug, because he looks like he could use one, Closes his eyes at the way Gavin's hands shake the slightest bit before he grabs on tight.

“I, uh, me too,” Gavin says, face pressed against Ryan’s shoulder. “Love you, that is.”

And Gavin has the gall to make fun of Ryan’s inability to word properly.

They’re going to have to talk about this later, use actual words to make sure there aren’t any more misunderstandings, that Gavin knows without a doubt how Ryan feels, but this is a good place to start.