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White Sunglasses and Black Eyes

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Andrew walked out of the back room, leaving Roland behind to do his trousers up, and almost missed the figure leaning against the wall, waiting for him.

But he didn’t miss it- Andrew was always acutely aware of the threats that surrounded him, and Joseph Kavinsky was definitely a threat.

He was leaning against the wall, body sprawled across the grime and graffiti that coated it in the elegant way only Kavinsky ever seemed to manage. He looked like a king, reclining on a throne, limbs gracefully twisted in a way that was slightly wrong and his throat a pale column of stark white.

He was wearing sunglasses, which was a new addition. In juvie, they hadn’t had much of a choice of outfits. They hadn’t been able to hide their scarred wrists or blown-out eyes from each other.

When he spoke, his voice was raspy, as if he hadn’t spoken for days. “Still got control issues, then, Minyard?”
He nodded at Roland, who had slipped out since, with some new red marks on his wrists from the padded cuffs Andrew kept chained to the pipes in the back room.

Andrew eyed K’s body, still so pale, and the greasy black hair that made him look like something out of a vampire novel. He looked almost identical, even after all these years. His lips were red, as if he’d bitten them until they’d bled. The tattoo on his ankle was new, and Andrew guessed he’d added more than a few to the inked tapestry of his skin.

“Still looking like an emancipated corpse, then, K?”

Kavinsky laughed slightly, baring a mouth the color of blood with just a few too many teeth to be natural.

“What are you doing here.” It hurt Andrew slightly, to have given away what he wanted to know so easily, to give K the opportunity to withhold the answers he wanted unless Andrew gave something too. But that was just the way Kavinsky worked- he wanted things to be interesting, and he didn’t care enough about his own life enough to be intimidated into answers.

If you wanted a clear answer out of him, he’d never give it to you just so he could laugh at your frustration, but he would tell you all his secrets in the middle of the night to see if you’d gasp.

Today, it seemed, Kavinsky was in the mood to cooperate. He pushed off the wall, and moved closer until he was close enough to feel Andrew’s breath on his skin, never quite closing the gap between their bodies but fitting into the space Andrew left. “Can’t a man catch up with an old friend?”

If it was anyone else, it would have been a purr, but K had destroyed himself too much for such subtle sounds. His voice was dry and husky, and he sounded like he’d snorted too much powder and let too much vodka burn down his throat.

Andrew did not move away. “We’re not friends.”

Kavinsky smiled again, and Andrew couldn’t tell if it reached his eyes, not with the glasses that almost had the same effect as his blown-out pupils, making you spiral into the darkness that was Joseph Kavinsky’s fucked-up head.

“Alright, then. But you know all my secrets, Andrew. Want to catch up again, for old times’ sake?”

Andrew considered it. He didn’t like the drugs, or the wildness, but he did like the way Kavinsky kept his hands on the headboard without being reminded, and moaned prettily when Andrew bit into those pale, jutting hipbones.

But Andrew wasn’t fifteen any more. Kavinsky was a wild-card, chaos incarnate, and Andrew was very easy to understand, when it came down to it. He was violent, but never without a reason. He had killed, and would kill again if someone dared to come for his family.

He stepped away from the man, with his too-familiar face, the nose that had been broken in at least two places, the fingers with nails that were torn and ragged from opening beer bottles with his thumb. He walked back to the table where Kevin and Nicky were waiting, and didn’t look back until he’d slid into the seat.

Kavinsky hadn’t followed him. When he searched for him in the crowd, a pulsating organism that beat to the rhythm of the pounding music, all he saw was a flash of teeth.

Andrew drank, and poured cracker dust down his throat. Kavinsky was a liability, and he had more than just himself to protect, now. He had even more to lose, and he didn’t need K to drag him back down, further into the gutter he’d never really climbed out.

He remembered all too well the manic edge to Kavinsky’s smile- he was a knife, a blade that you couldn’t help but cut yourself on. At fifteen, that had been all Andrew wanted. Pain, the kind of pain that made you relish it with how nicely it stung.

K had been a convenience, something interesting to pass the endless days and press into a thin, prison-issue mattress when he needed something to relieve the tension. Andrew did not like that he was so easy to find, now.

He was not so foolish, anymore, to be drawn in by the impossibility of Joseph Kavinsky, the way he smiled when he told Andrew how he’d killed his father or the way he seemed to always be able to get hold of cigarettes and knives, the way Andrew could choke in the black sea in his eyes, but then let Andrew pin him down and grinned like he’d somehow won.

So Andrew did not turn back when he left the club, did not search the crowd to see if Kavinsky had found someone else to take Andrew’s place in his evening plans. He let Kevin grumble about the music, and Aaron slur his words as he stumbled into the back seat, and ignored the way Nicky gushed about a man he’d danced with as he drove them back to Colombia, to the house where they had almost reached normality.

And if he ran a finger over his wrists that night, remembered the scars he’d put there with Kavinsky’s knife, he did not allow himself to acknowledge the fact that he’d never quite stopped being interested in the hollows of K’s body or the fragility of his sanity,

***********

Andrew didn’t move when the cell door opened, except to turn his head to face the door.

He was on the top bunk, with his head by the end with the ladder, next to the window. It was not a position he was exactly comfortable with- he was never comfortable without his feet on solid ground, but there was no way he was putting himself in a room with a stranger at night without being able to watch the door and have the height advantage.

The door opened, and in walked a boy about his age, taller than him- although that wasn’t unusual- with black hair and hollow enough cheekbones that you could probably count all his ribs.

You could, in fact, as Andrew would find out. Kavinsky was made up of far too much skin and bones to be anywhere near healthy, probably from heroin or some other drug, or possibly just neglect, but that didn’t particularly concern Andrew.

He wasn’t going to pity the boy who stood there, pretending to look out the window and taking a good look at Andrew instead.

They didn’t speak. The boy sat on the bench against the wall, and Andrew was silently grateful that he had stayed in Andrew’s eyesight.

He was a broken person, at fifteen. Dark and angry, barely able to keep the fury under his skin at what had been done to him, what he’d survived, at the pain and horror of the world that even then he’d known far too well.

Kavinsky had made him look like Katelyn, for how normal he was in comparison. K was insane, Andrew had been pretty sure. What was his depression and mania next to the untamable wildness and self-loathing that fueled K?

It hadn’t been long before K had started to speak, that day. He would go into silences that lasted days on end, and periods where he didn’t shut up for more than a minute, but he’d never done anything to make himself look more macho, to intimidate.

“I’m Joseph Kavinsky. You can call me K, if you want.”

Andrew had looked at him for a long time, but there hadn’t been even a flicker of fear on his face. Eventually, he spoke. “I’m not going to call you anything.”

K shrugged. He might have dozed off, then. The room was silent for probably half an hour, with just Andrew watching the shadows slowly inch further across the ceiling as the sun set outside.

When Kavinsky woke up, he was holding a knife. One moment there had been nothing there at all, and the next it was simply... in existence. But it hadn’t appeared, there was no sudden movement. It gave Andrew the peculiar feeling that somehow the knife had been there all along.

Kavinsky was very still for about a minute, then he cracked open those black eyes and gave a smile, the first one Andrew saw on him, and he almost looked away from it.

But he was not going to show weakness to this boy, not when there was a knife in his hands and danger written all over his body, from the pale, delicate hands to the way his back arched as he sat up.

“Where did you get the knife.”

K smiled. He put it in his pocket, then spoke in a voice that was a peculiar mix of a harsh, clipped Bulgarian accent and a smooth southern drawl.

“Mike from the green block. Sucked his dick for it.”

It was a lie, and they both knew it. “No, you didn’t.”

“No. Still might, though. He’s hot.”

Andrew looked back up at the ceiling. He tried to clamp down the fear rolling through his stomach, the thought of being in a room he couldn’t get out of with someone who was attracted to guys- no. Mike from the green block wasn’t small, or blonde, or a helpless boy who anyone would ever describe as ‘pretty’.

Mike was a big guy, burly shoulders and a shaved head, who ripped holes in his dull beige uniform to try and make himself look punk.

So Kavinsky’s type was dangerous. Interesting to know.

For now, he let his face settle into a blank facade, and turned back to the boy, reaching out a hand. K only grinned as he gave up his knife.

He didn’t comment, later, when Andrew ripped off a piece of his pillowcase to bandage up the scar on his wrist. It had been a long time since he’d done it- he’d been here for three months now, and he hadn’t managed to find something to replace the razor blades he’d used at Cass’ house.

Andrew had a feeling that while none of the scars he’d later find all over Kavinsky’s body were self-inflicted, they were just as self-destructive as each other, when it came down to it.

He found all kinds of scars on K’s pale skin- damaged skin on his stomach where the shards of a broken bottles had been dug out, a burn from a Molotov cocktail on his leg, a shattered toe and a torn earlobe.

He had tattoos marking his skin, too. The word ‘Prokopenko’ was hidden on the inside of his leg, and he had a dragon curling round his ribs. There was some words in Bulgarian Andrew had never bothered to ask about scrolling down his back, and a jagged line that connected up the cigarette burns on his arm.

He wasn’t beautiful. He wasn’t pretty. He might have been handsome, if not for the heavy, lidded eyes and the shadows under them, the twice broken nose and the way he slouched, spine curving in. But he grinned when he caught Andrew looking at the sliver of bare skin on his stomach, and kissed him back just as hungrily as Andrew kissed him.

It was sloppy, and messy, and there was too much teeth, but Andrew wanted to do this, and that made it better than any other kiss he’d had.

He didn’t mind sinking to his knees in their tiny, cramped room, because K’s hands were tightly wrapped around the metal bars of Andrew’s bunk, and he stayed still and moaned Andrew’s name when he came.

It was an experiment, one that Andrew enjoyed, leaving bruises bitten into K’s skin that he didn’t mind everyone seeing above his collar. Sometimes, they disagreed, and K wasn’t exactly friendly- it was all a game to him, and he got pissy when Andrew failed to entertain him by refusing to wrap a hand around K’s neck.

It hadn’t been love, and it hadn’t really been hate either- Andrew didn’t care enough to hate him. He listened to K spill his secrets, of Prokopenko, who he might have loved, in a twisted way; of his father, the passenger-seat victim of one of K’s joyrides.

He never offered anything up in return, and K never asked. He was content to endlessly try and provoke him with a story even more horrifying than the last, until Andrew wasn’t sure half of them were even true- tales of night terrors and forests with trees that whispered in forgotten languages.

He never did get a rise out of Andrew, but he didn’t seem to mind that much when Andrew kissed him until the wardens banged on their door, yelling at them to knock it off.

He didn’t ask why Andrew started a new fight every time his parole hearing for good behavior came up, or why he cut his wrists and hid the scars with bandages made of ripped bedsheets, and in return Andrew didn’t ask why the knife was so unreal.

That was the way to describe that time- unreal. Andrew remembered everything, but even he couldn’t sort through the jumbled mess of Joseph Kavinsky in his mind. He remembered the drugs that K always managed to procure, and the knife that must have been cut from a single piece of material, not a seam or joint on it, but was clearly both wood and metal.

It was an agreement, and it worked. Andrew’s silence, and K’s chatter. K’s chaos, and Andrew’s steady predictability.

What he didn’t know, was why Kavinsky was here, in Colombia, four years later.

Chapter Text

Andrew stood stationary in the goal as Seth scored, vaguely listening to Kevin’s rant from the sidelines about how he ‘needed to put in the effort’. Andrew didn’t give a shit about Kevin’s whining, or how he thought that just because he’d grown up with the Ravens that he was god’s gift to Exy.

He was contemplating not moving until the end of practice, just to piss of Assistant Coach Day, but this plan was interrupted by Wymack sticking his head through the door of the court.

“Minyard! Andrew, that is. There’s someone here to see you, should I tell him to wait until after practice?”

That caught his attention. “Who is it?”

Wymack frowned. “He didn’t give a name. Pale guy, skinny, black hair and looking like he just walked out of Hot Topic.”

Andrew swore, and shoved off the court, ignoring Kevin’s bitching about cutting into Exy time. Wymack followed him, standing there int the hallway and watching as Andrew walked up to Kavinsky, who was leaning against the wall and had deftly hidden a cigarette as the coach appeared. Andrew ignored Wymack’s scowl as he waited for his coach to leave him and Kavinsky alone.

The man in question grinned, running a finger down the wall of vivid orange that covered every square meter of this stadium, and Andrew could sense a taunt coming. “So. Exy. Wouldn’t have thought you’d stick with it, after juvie.”

Andrew crossed his arms. He wasn’t in juvie anymore, staring at his grey ceiling and watching shadows pass with nothing better to do than listen to Kavinsky’s chatter. He couldn’t be bothered to play along with his teasing. “They signed my family. Gave Aaron the scholarship he needed for medical school.”

K hummed in acknowledgment, and leaned forward, eager to get Andrew’s reaction to whatever bullshit he’d spout next. “You know, I had some visitors a few months ago. Riko Moriyama, and a pack of Ravens. Wanted me to sign.”

Andrew could’ve laughed. It was almost funny, the thought of K committing to anything even close to a five-year contract. “You expect me to believe they thought they could make you practice?”

“No. I haven’t played Exy since we left juvie, but I might have signed with them. Given it a month or so until I got bored. I’ve got the lawyers to get me out of any contract.”

Andrew considered him. K had barely tried in prison, and he hadn’t had Andrew’s natural talent. The Ravens would never sign someone so inexperienced. “Why did they want you?”

Kavinsky grinned again, and came forward until he was breathing onto Andrew’s neck. “They thought I might be handy for distracting a certain goalkeeper. Thought I’d piss you off enough that you’d stop bothering to protect the goal.”

Andrew hated that it would have worked. He supposed Riko was looking for new ways to ensure the Foxes stayed the lowest-ranked team in the division, especially now that Kevin was coaching them- someone obviously wasn’t coping too well with being abandoned.

It wasn’t quite adding up. “Why’d you say no?”

K flicked his sunglasses back, pushing his hair out of the way, and revealed those blown out eyes again. They were manic, even more so than usual, and Andrew guessed that he’d snorted something in the last hour.

“Mandatory drug testing.”
It wasn’t like Andrew had expected K to stop with the drugs, but those blown out eyes reminded him of Aaron’s, when he’d first met him, and every reason that he had to keep drugs away from his twin. If it was heroin, or opioids, he’d have a knife to Kavinsky’s back until he left.

“What are you on?” Andrew gritted his teeth.

K only blinked, and he ignored the way those hollow cheekbones and too-red lips looked as Kavinsky tapped his temple with a two-fingered salute that Andrew realized with a shock that he’d picked up from him.

“My own special brand of happy pills. They won’t get your brother hooked again, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Andrew didn’t let his surprise show on his face, but K picked up on it anyway.

“I did some digging. Imagine my surprise that you were actually doing something with your life! So you found Aaron, anyway. Saw Tilda’s dead- nice work, if a bit unoriginal.”

He said it with a smile, but Kavinsky how he’d done it. K had given them idea, actually, tampering with the brakes of Tilda’s car for all those moths.

It had been in one of K’s manic episodes, where he barely stopped talking long enough to breathe, where he’d mentioned how his father had died- the man had been drunk, and stupid enough to let his son drive him home. K had raced down the streets in that white Mitsubishi, and wrapped the car and his father around a streetlamp. He hadn’t said if it had been an accident, or if he’d wanted to kill his father, or if he’d wanted to kill himself; either way, it had set the wheels turning in Andrew’s head after the day when Aaron had visited, bruises visible and track marks up his arms.

He wasn’t sure if K knew himself, honestly. He’d never cut himself like Andrew, and had never seemed suicidal, but he’d never been particularly careful with his life. He was the human embodiment of ‘live fast, die young’. Just like Prokopenko had been; overdosed on twenty different kinds of pills and drowned in a Henrietta river.

It was almost like Kavinsky could read his mind, when he spoke again.

“I dreamed Prokopenko back up.” He said it like a challenge, like he always did- fishing for a reaction. It worked, too. Andrew couldn’t quite stop his eyes from narrowing.

Kavinsky shouldn’t have been able to do that. Drugs were one thing, so were the tiny gifts and toys K always woke up holding. But they’d never been quite right, always holding some of that unreal quality or missing the flaws which made things real. They were too perfect, too smooth, metal that didn’t make a sound when you dropped it or plastic that was soft to the touch.

“There wasn’t much to do, when you got out, except practice. I’m pretty good, now. It took a few Prokopenko’s buried in the back garden before I got one that worked properly, and I’ve got a whole field of white Mitsubishis, but I can dream anything now.”

Andrew scoffed. “What, you just dreamed yourself a new family? You expect me to believe that your new Proko isn’t just a doll that looks close enough to the original.”

Kavinsky’s eyes sparked with ire. “You can fuck him yourself, if you don’t believe me.”

Andrew spat out the words. “He’s not a person, K. I bet you programmed him to do whatever you tell him, whatever you want. You’ll let this one overdose too, use him as your little test subject for all your pills. Does he even have internal organs?”

“Maybe not, but I’m sure you’d like him. He follows instructions, keeps his hands to himself if you tell him too.”

It was an offer, and one Andrew wasn’t going to take. Proko, or whatever copy of him that K had dragged into the world, was designed to do what it was told. That wasn’t a yes.

K had never understood, why he was so touchy about the consent. He hadn’t known to ask ‘yes or no?’, then, hadn’t had Bee to help him work through his issues and work out a way to make it okay for him to take, from whatever faceless men let him in nightclubs, pressed up against walls with their hands pinned in place.

Kavinsky seemed to see the look on his face, and his smile dropped. He spoke, and his voice was low, and angry. “You gave me the idea, you know. To try it.”

Andrew remembered. He remembered everything, every good moment and the multitude of bad ones. He remembered being drunk on K’s dream vodka and high from the kisses, asking him “Why don’t you just dream a new Proko up, if it’d stop your bitching?”

K hadn’t spoken to him for a week, silent and angry, the emotions swirling, constantly visible, simmering right under his skin. When he’d broken the silence, it had been when he was high, and they’d fucked and it had almost been like K had forgotten he’d been angry in the first place.

That was how he worked. He didn’t have time for forgiveness, or ‘sorry’, or even people who made it up to him- Kavinsky was ruled by nothing but his own whims, and even his emotions bent to the insanity and nonsense that was his brain. If he wanted to have fun, then he simply didn’t have time for anger anymore.

Andrew wondered vaguely what Bee would think of him. He was probably some worth writing a psychological paper on, although Andrew wasn’t sure normal psychiatry worked on a person who wasn’t quite human.

He was brought back to the present slightly by the whistle that signified the end of practice.

Kavinsky stared at him for a few more moments, then slipped those white sunglasses back on, covering the eyes that were devoid of any light.

Barely a second later, the team were off the court, and suddenly there was a whole hallway of people all watching curiously at the way Andrew hadn’t moved from how close he was to Kavinsky, the way K seemed to curl around the space with that otherworldly grace, smelling of alcohol and gasoline and his hot breath on Andrew’s neck.

Andrew didn’t care enough about his team to explain why his knives weren’t at the man’s throat, why he let him this close or why Kavinsky managed to simply exude wrongness in a way that made Matt pause when he started to move forward.

Andrew looked again at Kavinsky’s grin, which had settled all too easily on that emaciated face, and shoved past him to get to the changing room, ignoring how Kavinsky sprawled against the orange wall and called out in that mocking, raspy voice of his.

“I’ll be waiting out here, Andrew! We’re not done yet!”

Andrew stripped off his gear with slightly more force than usual, and ignored Matt’s wary look when he pulled one of his knives out of his armband.

It was a sharp metal blade, and a solid wood handle, and no one would get close enough to tell that the materials fused together, wood into metal without a seam, almost as if they’d been cut from the same block.

It was weakness, that he’d kept it. It wasn’t for Kavinsky that he kept it, but Andrew was slightly loath to let the knife go when it had spilled so much of his own blood.

He had no doubt that Kavinsky would be waiting for him outside, reclining in his Mitsubishi like a king on his throne, a bottle of vodka as his scepter and a pair of white sunglasses resting atop his head like a crown.

Chapter Text

Andrew tried to ignore Nicky’s questions as he drove them back to the dorm- Aaron was trying to hide his curiosity behind his usual sulk, but wasn’t quite covering up all the questioning glances he sent his brothers way. Andrew wasn’t exactly forthcoming with his answers, except to grit his teeth when he saw a white car pull out behind him as they left the stadium.

He presumed this was Kavinsky’s white Mitsubishi- he’d never actually seen the car, but K had spoken fondly of his car, mourning it’s loss far more than his father.

Nicky was babbling incessantly, chirping questions with a too-bright smile like he always did when nervous. “So who’s that? Looked like you know him well, do you know him well? Where did you meet? Also, what’s with the outfit- I thought you were bad, with the all-black, but at least you don’t go around dressed like a goth, leather jackets and chains and all that.”

“I mean, he was kind of hot though, even though he was properly scary-looking. Not really my type usually, I mean Erik is nothing but friendly, but you know, a man has needs...”

Andrew tuned out Nicky’s rambling after that. He was glad he did,because judging from Aaron’s sour expression when they arrived at the dorm, Nicky had continued his tirade on how brilliant Erik was.

It wasn’t like Erik bothered him personally- the man was too large and overly-friendly, but Andrew didn’t care enough to object. It was Nicky’s constant gushing and rather loud phone sex that he objected to.

Andrew let the door to the tower close behind them, leaving Kavinsky about a hundred meters away without a keycard.

He should’ve known that wouldn’t stop him. Five minutes later, there was a knock on the door of the monster’s suite.

Andrew pulled it open and gave him the flattest look he could muster. “What do you want.”

K grinned, and waved past his shoulder at Nicky. “Like I said, I’m catching up with old friends. Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

“No. Not while you’re on those drugs- I spent a lot of time and energy getting Aaron clean, and I just managed to scare Matt away with his own little relapse. You’re not bringing anything into the room.”

K tried to push past him, and huffed when Andrew didn’t move out of the door. “C’mon, ‘Drew.”

Nicky seemed delighted at this, crowing the nickname. “‘Drew? Andrew, who is this guy!”

K flicked his glasses back, and gave Andrew a nasty smile. “I’m not going to drug your brother, Andrew, promise- why would I waste my dreams on him?”

Andrew had a feeling that Kavinsky wasn’t going to leave until he’d said whatever it was he came here for- he was growing mildly annoyed with his new stalker. He turned around, walking back into the suite for a pint of ice cream, and let the door close as Kavinsky entered.

He was pretending to look around, rustling the pillows, running his hands along the TV, then made his way into the bedroom before Andrew could stop him. He followed, gritting out a “Say what you came here for, then get out.”.
Nicky and Aaron trailed after them, trying not to stare too obviously as K flung himself onto Kevin’s bed, reclining with his head tilted back and feet propped up on Kevin’s pillow.

Kavinsky seemed to watch him, his head turned so that he was upside down as he met Andrew’s gaze.

“I wanted to visit old friends. Seriously. Mine are shit and spend more time doing my drugs and fucking each other to even notice I’m gone, until they run out of pills. Proko died again, blew up another car. And there’s a group of idiots running around my town acting like they own the place, and Lynch actually tried to race me, but then his little master Dick the Third grounded him and now I have no one to play with.”

He sounded like a child, petulant and whining, but the tattoos and wildness told Andrew differently.

“So your friends and whoever the fuck Lynch is dumped you. Dream up a new Proko, for all I care. Dream up a whole army of pasty Bulgarian coke addicts, maybe you’ll find your inner peace.” Andrew intoned the words impassively, in the same way he did when he expressed his opinions on Renee’s do-gooder attitude.

Kavinsky scowled.

Nicky and Aaron looked like they were barely following the conversation, but had kept their mouths shut so far, until Nicky let out a stammered “So, how do you know Andrew?”

K seemed to perk up a bit at that, although he didn’t hesitate to glare back at Andrew. “Did he never mention me? For shame, Doe.” Aaron flinched at the name, staring at Andrew who looked down at the man just as impassively as ever.

“I was Andrew’s roommate, back in California.”

Nicky seemed to relax slightly, smiling at the man. “Oh, cool. Were you foster brothers or something?”

“Roommates in juvie.” That dropped Nicky’s smile, but he bounced back, ever-persistent in getting on Andrew’s nerves.

“Oh! Why were you in juvie? Sorry- that’s probably insensitive, you don’t need to answer that-“

Kavinsky smiled. “Possession of cocaine, and manslaughter. Patricide, actually- drove my father into a lamppost, and trashed a really nice car doing it.” He seemed very pleased to get the appropriate shock out of Nicky, after so long of dealing with Andrew’s unresponsive mask.

He continued. “Doe here stole my idea- didn’t even get credit. Sorry- it’s Minyard now, isn’t it?” He apologized, looking anything but sorry. “After darling Tilda. Glad she’s dead; Andrew spent a lot of time silently brooding over Aaron’s ouchies.”

Aaron was fuming in the corner as he stared at Kavinsky, looking ready to throttle him as soon as he knew why Andrew had let him into their dorm. If he was honest, Andrew didn’t know, and he felt like he was going to regret his decision as K flicked his eyes over to him, and then suddenly that sardonic grin was back.

He kicked his legs up to push up the bottom of Aaron’s mattress, drumming his fingernails along the metal bars to make the cheap aluminium frame chime.

“Familiar, isn’t it?”

Andrew didn’t like where this was going.

“I haven’t slept in a bunk since juvie. Maybe I should try it again, spend the night. Want to fuck me in a bunk bed, for old time’s sake?”

Andrew had a knife out in an instant, and K’s grin spread impossibly wider, his teeth bared.

“Get out.”

“Is that a no, then? Funny. You’ve never turned down a blowjob before. Proko’s still dead, I’m getting all lonely in my big ol’ bed back in Henrietta-“

He stopped talking, because the knife pressed into his throat was a bit of a hindrance to proper speech. He didn’t look nearly terrified enough for Andrew’s tastes, although he supposed he’d grown lazy with how easy it was to shut Kevin up with just a glare.

Nicky was spluttering behind him, and Aaron was gaping at the pair. Andrew scowled at Kavinsky, who only grinned, because the bastard had known exactly what he was doing.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, then Andrew lessened the knife’s blade to haul Kavinsky up by his shirt, not caring if he ripped the fabric as he pulled Kavinsky to the door of the suite and dropped him in the hallway outside.

He slammed the door on him, and wondered if it was worth breaking his probation to just gut the man.

To just gut Nicky, too, as he turned on Andrew. “Oh my god, you hooked up with him in juvie? Wait, Andrew, are you gay? Also, he’s really scary, and has like a foot on you- not bad looking though, I can see why you’d-“ He seemed to falter. “Seriously?”

Aaron was gaping at him. “Was it just because there weren’t any girls in juvie, or do I have a fag for a twin brother as well as a cousin?”

Andrew bristled at the word, and picked up his pint of ice cream, then put it back down and started digging in the cupboard for the vodka instead. He needed something a little stronger than Ben and Jerry’s at the moment.

His non-answer said everything Aaron wanted to know. His twin stepped back, grumbling in a way that meant Andrew would have to teach someone a lesson on inclusivity with the sharp side of a knife very soon, after he drowned this evening in vodka and nursed his hangover tomorrow.

Nicky looked crestfallen at Aaron’s attitude, but excitable if entirely taken aback at Kavinsky’s little exposé. He followed Andrew to the sofa, and spouted questions as Andrew sat in silence, eating his ice cream and trying to turn the volume of the TV up loud enough to drown his cousin out.

Kavinsky had stormed into this new life Andrew had made himself and hurled a Molotov cocktail, and now there was nothing for Andrew to do except try to ignore the pain.

He was used to pain, with the life he’d had. He didn’t welcome it anymore, didn’t crave it like he used to, but Andrew wasn’t going bother trying to rebuild what Kavinsky had destroyed. He would wait, and keep his promises, but there would be no picking up or putting back together all the broken, jagged pieces that had made up Andrew Minyard.

Chapter Text

Andrew put on the navy tie that Allison thrust at him this morning to match Renee’s dress, and ignored the way Aaron scoffed and muttered something about ‘who does he think he’s fooling’.

His brother hadn’t mentioned last month’s revelation other than to grumble or give pointed stares, but that was vastly preferable to Nicky’s desperate attempts at bonding now that he’d finally found something they had in common.

Renee hadn’t batted an eyelid when he asked her what color tie he needed to buy for the winter banquet, despite the fact that his whole team now knew that he was not only gay but had hooked up with an insane Bulgarian mobster’s son who’d killed his father and had been high off his ass the few times they’d caught a glimpse of him.

Andrew had already had to listen to Kevin’s lecture- the man had nodded in approval when he found out Andrew was taking Renee to the formal, and given him a pompous speech on how ‘media face is important, Andrew,’ and that it was ‘easier if he remained heterosexual’.

Andrew fixed his collar, stuffing his travel bag into one of the many purple and gold lockers in the guest locker room at the host team’s stadium. Renee was waiting for him outside, and gently placed her hand on his arm after he nodded, and they walked onto the court.

The plexiglass walls had been hung with streamers, and despite how little he cared about the holidays, Andrew was enjoying watching Kevin’s face turn purple at the sight of an Exy court used for anything but his sacred sport. They were seated across from the Catamounts, a team who mainly ignored them, which was perfectly fine with Andrew.

He’d loaded Kevin up with vodka on the coach, but the man was on a separate table with the coaches, and so far Riko hadn’t even looked at him from the table where the Ravens were trying and succeeding to intimidate a small, low-ranked team.

In fact, the evening was going remarkably well. There wasn’t any alcohol, but he would fix that as soon as they got back on the coach in a few hours.

He really shouldn’t have been surprised when it all went to shit. He wasn’t the kind of person for whom things went right for.

It started when the tables and food were pushed back, and the music was turned up. The athletes began to flock to the dance floor, Renee letting Allison pull her by the waist into the crowd.

He watched for a while. Nicky was grinding on any man who got close enough, and his date definitely wasn’t complaining, someone from his marketing class that had been idiotic enough to agree to a night out with the Foxes. Then someone caught his eye.

It was a black suit, and a rather nice one, at that, but Kavinsky clearly didn’t care about the creases that made it look like he’d just stumbled out of bed. He was dancing with a girl from one of the higher-ranked teams who looked slightly unnerved with her choice of date but clearly didn’t object to K’s high cheekbones or rumpled hair.

There were some people who would do anything to make their lives a little more interesting, a little more like a movie. Andrew knew that the bad boys from the idiotic romance novels you saw in trashy bookshops were real, but there was no golden core or soft heart to them. Kavinsky might have convinced her that she needed a little bit of excitement, and she might be sure she could change him, but Andrew knew that K probably wouldn’t remember her name after tonight, after he’d used her to get into the banquet.

K didn’t look at him, not once. Andrew might have thought he didn’t even know he was here, if it wasn’t for the way the dancing was slightly too suggestive, flashing a stretch of skin at his midriff when his shirt came untucked that hid the inked curl of a tattoo on his stomach.

Andrew kept his eyes on him for what must have been half an hour. This wasn’t the kind of event where he could afford to take his eyes off him, not with his family here, not with Kevin relying on him and Renee unaware of the threat he could pose to the upperclassmen under her protection.

So he was very aware of what happened when Kavinsky brushed past Kevin at the coaches table, and something very small dropped into Kevin’s glass. Immediately, Andrew was on his feet, pushing through the crowd and ignoring the startled protest of the people he shoved out of the way, but he cursed as he watched an oblivious Kevin take a large gulp from the drink.

The thing about Kavinsky’s dreams was that they were not held to the same laws of physics the rest of the world was. K had tried to avoid anything too insane in juvie, where there was nowhere to dispose of it if he dreamed up a song that never turned off or a creature with three heads and no internal organs.

The pill in Kevin’s drink could have any effect he wanted, could kick in after a certain amount of time, and didn’t need to factor in how much Kevin drank or how much body mass the striker had.

K could dream up any drug, and it could do anything.

Andrew was never scared, because just like regret, it was a useless emotion. There was no point in worrying about things you couldn’t change, like the past or the knowledge that a certain stuck-up idiot had drunk whatever mystery pill there was in his drink. That didn’t stop him from moving with even more urgency.

He was dimly aware of K slipping out off the court, probably under the guise of finding a bathroom, only to be followed a few seconds later by Riko Moriyama.

He was also aware of Jean Moreau walking past Kevin, brushing a hand past his back in a way that looked accidental but would be anything but, when the Frenchman followed every one of Riko’s orders.

Andrew shoved down his perfect memory telling him that last time he’d seen Moreau, he hadn’t had those bruises around his wrists of the slight limp he was trying very hard to conceal. It was easier to blame Jean that himself, if Kevin ended up drugged off his mind.

It was easier to blame Jean for following Riko, for going along with the plan and letting Kavinsky drug him and meet with Riko, rather than admit that Jean was in just the same situation Andrew had been, in all those foster homes. He didn’t have the capacity to take in another one of Riko’s broken toys, but he didn’t miss the way Renee tracked the man every time they saw the Ravens play, or Moreau talked in a press interview.

He reached the table, and hauled Kevin up to the man’s outraged protests, and dragged him off the court to the hallway, Wymack on their tail and thundering questions Andrew didn’t have time to answer.

He held a hand out in front of Kevin. “How many fingers am I holding up?”

Kevin looked up at his in confusion, but Andrew swore in German as he saw that confusion slowly glaze over, his eyes becoming glassy and vacant.

Wymack crouched next to Kevin, then turned on Andrew.
“What the fuck happened to him?”

“He was drugged.” Andrew’s tone was flat.

Wymack exploded, even as he lowered Kevin against the wall where he sat smiling stupidly up at them.
“Yes, I can see that, Minyard! How did you know? Did you see who did it? It was Riko, wasn’t it, that bastard-“

Andrew cut him off with a glare, even as he rifled through Kevin’s pockets for the note he was sure Jean must have slipped onto him.

“It wasn’t Riko. Well, it was probably on his orders, considering I saw him follow Kavinsky into one of the back rooms.”

Wymack gaped at him. “Kavinsky? Your ex?”

Andrew snorted. “Hardly. We hooked up in juvie, he was high half the time and I thought he would have overdosed by now.”

“So why is he here? What did he drug him with?”

His voice was grim when he answered, finally pulling out the note.
“I’m guessing that Riko is still trying to use him to get to me, but after K turned his offer to join the Ravens down, Riko realized that he has talents far more suited to dragging Kevin back to the Nest and doing Riko’s bidding, not Exy. As for the drug, it could be anything. We can’t take him to a hospital, they won’t be able to do anything, and the drug won’t be anything they’ve ever seen before. I doubt it would even show up in a blood test.”

Wymack gaped at him, torn between concern over Kevin’s slumped form, curiosity over Andrew’s speech, or wanting to get the team out of here as soon as possible.

He saw Andrew tuck the slip of paper into his blazer, but wisely kept his mouth shut in favor of calling Abby, then trying to lift Kevin with the help of Matt when the team arrived.

Andrew didn’t open the note, and wouldn’t until he got back to the safety of the dorms. He ignored the Foxes’ questions, except to shake his head at Renee, and they left as quickly and as quietly as they could, to avoid the questions about how and why Kevin was drugged off his head.

He thought he saw a figure wearing white sunglasses watching them as the bus pulled out of the stadium, but dismissed it as light glinting off the pipes at the right angle.

Kavinsky hadn’t tried to approach him, hadn’t even looked at him all evening, and hadn’t even acknowledged Andrew was there except to dance with a little more enthusiasm than he usually did.

It had been one thing, last month, with Kavinsky turning up out of the blue to irritate him and mock his new life. Andrew had been able to ignore him, and simply refuse to acknowledge the fallout of his visit.

But now, Kevin was babbling nonsensically, and K was in a meeting room with Riko Moriyama. Andrew could let personal attacks against himself slide, but he was starting to realize that Kavinsky was in this mess a lot deeper than it appeared- today, he hadn’t been here for Andrew at all. He’d been here for Kevin, and Andrew was just a bonus.

He’d been here for someone Andrew had sworn to protect, and Andrew wasn’t going to let that slide.

He was going to find out exactly what Kavinsky was doing, and what business he had with the Moriyamas, and he was going to do everything he could to make sure that Kavinsky never came near his family again.

And if that involved a little trip to visit Kavinsky’s own family, so be it.

Chapter Text

Kevin groaned, trying to hide his head under the pillow as Andrew forcibly woke him up from his haze of drugs. He’d been asleep for almost twelve hours, and Andrew was getting tired of waiting around for answers.

So he ripped the pillow away from Kevin, pushed a glass of water over to him on the bedside table, and watching the man squirm and fumble. When he thought Kevin was semi-conscious enough to follow what he was saying, he pulled the note out of his pocket.

Kevin vaguely tried to grab it, but his hand missed by a significant margin and he stared at in in confusion. Andrew was in a hurry, otherwise he would have had a good long laugh at the perfect Kevin Day’s shitty aim.

“What does- what does it say?” His words were slurred, and followed by another pitiful attempt to grasp the note. It was a small piece of card, embossed with the Edgar Allen logo and another one, which had japanese lettering and a small dagger.

Andrew showed him the logos. “What’s this, Kevin?”

The man paled when he saw the second logo, the ‘2’ on his cheek standing in stark contrast to the way his Irish skin went deathly white.
He started babbling, panic in his eyes and trying to sit up.
“Shit. Shit- fuck, Andrew, they’re coming for me- Riko wants me to come back...”

“Shut up.” Nicky would have protested at Andrew’s bedside manner, but it got the striker to slump back against the headboard, even if he had his eyes squeezed tightly shut and might be praying under his breath.

“What is it, Kevin? Why is that logo making you so scared?”

Kevin opened his eyes, and the panic was back. “You don’t understand- they’ll kill me for leaving-“

Huh. Kevin was a coward, and had built Riko Moriyama up as some kind of infallible god in his head, but he’d never claimed that he was in any danger- even when they’d made their deal when Kevin had first shown up in Palmetto, hand bloody and eyes dark, Kevin had only told Andrew that he didn’t want to go back, and had begged for his protection.

Andrew had assumed that protection was from Riko’s mind games, violent streak and power in the ERC- but now Kevin was implying that Riko actually had some power to back up his arrogant god-complex.

“Who’s going to kill you?”

Kevin mumbled something about vodka, which Andrew ignored. Eventually, he quieted down and took a deep breath.
“The Moriyamas. They’re not just the Exy team- they’re- they’re yakuza. The Exy games are just a front, to launder money, and Riko’s brother Ichirou runs the real business.”

Andrew rocked back on his heels and gave himself a few seconds to digest this information. There was a flash of anger, when he realized what Kevin had been keeping from him. Protecting the man from his obsessed, abusive brother was one thing- Andrew had agreed to keep Kevin out of the Nest, to give him enough spine to protect him against Riko. The power of the Japanese mafia was something entirely different.

Kevin must have seen this in his eyes, and flinched back a bit when Andrew turned a blank look on him.

“And you kept the fact that you ran away from the mafia to yourself, when you made that deal, did you?”

It was quite satisfactory to see him quake. He stuttered out his excuses.
“I thought they would let me go- I lost any value as an investment, when I couldn’t play any more. I’m not useful to the Moriyamas for anything but Exy- and I was always under the branch family, not the main one, so it’s Riko’s responsibility if the family decided they want me back.”

That fit with the note. It had been a load of bullshit about family and Kevin’s duty to himself and the Ravens, but finished up with a threat; ‘return to where you belong or next time the drugs will do more than knock you out.’ Kevin didn’t need to see it- knowing him, he’d call Riko up to grovel.

And Andrew wasn’t going to let him go back. He wasn’t happy with the secrets Kevin had been keeping, but he stuck to his promises. He finally relented, and handed to vodka over to Kevin to shut his cowering up. He’d agreed to protect Kevin, to keep him out of the Nest, and as long as Kevin held up his end of their bargain, and gave Andrew something that held his interest enough for him to keep on living, he’d hold up his.

He crumpled the note, and held his lighter underneath it until there was a small pile of ash singing it’s way through Kevin’s bedding.

Abby would be here soon to check on the idiot, and while he had no doubt that Kavinsky’s drug would have left Kevin’s system without a trace or any damage, he had no doubt that Riko wasn’t kidding about the threats getting worse if Kevin didn’t go home.

At this point, Riko just needed to save face to his family- Kevin wasn’t going to play again, not with his hand shattered, and it wouldn’t matter if he got a bit battered in the struggle to drag him back to Evermore, if Moreau’s bruises were anything to go by.

It seemed Kavinsky had found another way to annoy Andrew after all- he’d turned down the Ravens, but the Moriyamas had just found another way to use his talents. And a dreamer, who could bring into the world any kind of bastardized, impossible objects; yes, that would be very useful indeed.

Fake identities, drugs, official documents, weapons, vehicles, corpses to be planted or even whole new disposable soldiers for the Moriyamas to use. Yes, it was clear to Andrew that Kavinsky was becoming even more dangerous than he’d thought.

Kavinsky was from Henrietta, Andrew knew that much. There wasn’t very many leads to go on, but Andrew could recall every word Kavinsky had spoken since he’d turned up in Colombia a month ago, and a certain name had him very interested.

So he turned back to Kevin, who was scowling at his ruined sheets, and took the vodka away again, ignoring Kevin’s weak protests.

“You can have it back when I have answers. How much do you know about the Moriyama’s business partners? If they used the Exy games as cover, you must have come across a good lot of them.”

Kevin nodded slightly, a frown on his face as if he was trying to think, but he didn’t take his eyes off the bottle.

“Was there anyone who got them weapons, or fake papers, who’s forgeries were known to be perfect?”

He hid the bottle out of Kevin’s line of vision, and it didn’t take too long before he managed to come up with an answer.

“Yeah- there was a guy- from Henrietta, same as your Kavinsky. Niall Lynch, I think his name was, but he died a few years ago.”

Lynch. Wasn’t that interesting.

Kavinsky had mentioned a Lynch, one who had tried to race him, and presumably lost against a car that was not bound by mere things like physics. He pondered the name for a few seconds. Niall Lynch was dead, it was likely that whatever Lynch K had talked about was young, if Kavinsky was interested in him, and his ‘master, Dick the third’.

“He got any kids, this Lynch?”

Kevin frowned again. “Yeah, there was a guy in a suit who came to the tower sometimes, his son, Derek I think, but he never came after Lynch died. I don’t think he had the same connections or whatever- he couldn’t make the documents or things the family wanted.”

So the Moriyamas had been without a dreamer, and Joseph Kavinsky had kindly filled the void for them.

“A guy in a suit called Derek? Did he mention racing?” A man raised to look official and stand at the side in his father’s business meetings didn’t seem the kind of person K would be interested in. Andrew’s suspicions were confirmed when Kevin shook his head.

“I think he had three kids, though.”

So. It seemed that Andrew had a trip to make.

He called Wymack, who yelled about the time off from practice but quieted down when Andrew explained about the Moriyamas, and how he needed to investigate Kavinsky before Kevin was damaged beyond repair or dragged back to the Nest.

He hadn’t been cleared to go, exactly, but Wymack wouldn’t kick up too much of a fuss if he skipped practice on Monday, which gave him three days if he left now.

So he ignored Aaron’s scowl and Nicky’s wails at being told the weekend trip to Colombia was cancelled, and got in the car he’d bought with his mother’s blood to start the drive to Henrietta, Virginia.

Chapter Text

You weren’t supposed to smoke this close to a school, probably. Ah well. Both the faculty and students of Aglionby Academy seemed to have got the message to stay away from the man in all-black who had been waiting for their shitty weekend football game to finish.

It probably helped that he wasn’t much taller than the students- in fact, he was probably the smallest person on the grounds. He could easily pass for a high-schooler, if he hadn’t been standing there chain smoking for the last hour. He would say the clearly expensive car he was leaning against would make him stand out amongst high-schoolers, too, but this was the kind of school where the parking lot was filled with BMWs and Mercedes as the parents of rich assholes doted over shitty football games for their darling children.

Or not- Allison’s parents were proof that money didn’t equate to the amount of time people spared for their kids.

It took a long time for people to start filing out of the game, broad smiles pasted on faces with combed hair and perfect teeth. Andrew wanted to stab someone.

But the knives could wait, because here was Richard Campbell Gansey the Third- or ‘Dick’ as Kavinsky had called him.

He’d worked out after some research that he was probably after Ronan, the middle brother- the eldest, Declan- not Derek- lived in New York and had a girlfriend, and the youngest was a bit too young for Kavinsky. He also vaguely resembled Jeremy Knox, both in golden-haired appearance and the aura of a Golden Retriever he put out.

Ronan Lynch didn’t have an address listed, didn’t have any social media and wasn’t mentioned on the school’s website, so Andrew would have to get his location out of his friend, who was smiling broadly as he slung an arm around the shoulders of a girl who was pretending to scowl up at him. They were trailed by a pale boy with ratty converse on.

Andrew noted the trio’s outfits with some disgust. The girl seemed to be wearing something resembling a lampshade, and the pale boy seemed to be wearing his prep-school uniform despite it being the weekend, complete with the ratty converse. Was Dick wearing boat shoes?

Dick’s smile seemed to falter slightly as they saw how Andrew moved into their path, only to be strapped back in place with a blinding presidential grin that reminded him uncomfortably of Nicky’s ever-present smile.

“Hello! Can we help you!”

Andrew was far more interested in the girl who sized him up- she wasn’t any taller than him, but she had some scarring around her eye and her hand was reaching into her pocket in the same way his own reached towards his armband.

He didn’t take his eyes off her, but addressed Mr President.
“Yes. I need to speak to Ronan Lynch.”

The girl cursed. She reached into her pocket, and sent off a text, presumably to Ronan, and then glared at him.

“Why do you need to do that?” Dick was grating on his nerves.

“I need to speak to him.”
His tone was flat, but Gansey’s smile didn’t waver, pasted on as it was. The other boy spoke up, and it startled him slightly- he’d almost forgotten he was here.

“Ronan’s not here, he hates football.”

The boy had an odd smudge on his cheek. Aaron would know what it was, but Andrew was too unnerved to think about anything except the fact that he’d forgotten something. He was Andrew Minyard- he didn’t just forget stuff.

The girl’s phone chimed, and she pulled it out to read the text. Whatever it said, it must have made up her mind- she nodded to Gansey, and offered Andrew a lift in a hideously orange Camaro. He ignored it.

The group’s car pulled up to a building with a sign proclaiming it to be Monmouth Manufacturing, and Andrew parked on the street outside. When the reached the door, Gansey gestured for him to go first.

Andrew stayed where he was. He wasn’t going first into what looked like an abandoned factory, not when the girl was probably carrying a knife and the Moriyamas were involved. They stood there, in a stalemate, for a few seconds until the girl huffed and banged on the door, yelling “It’s me!” before she pushed it open.

When he followed them in, and had his suspicions confirmed when he saw the man in all-grey who stood by the door with a gun and a rag. The air smelled like chloroform.
It seemed the girl hadn’t been texting Lynch but arranging a hostage situation.

He eyed the man again, but didn’t reach for his knives. He had a feeling they wouldn’t do much, against him. The door closed behind him, the smudgy boy slipping past him, and Andrew startled again at his existence. What was going on? The kidnapping he’d expected, if these people were involved with the Moriyamas, but if Lynch was stupid enough to tell his friends about the family business, stupid enough to involve these kids in it- they weren’t even legal adults yet.

“I need to talk to Lynch. I wouldn’t try using that chloroform- I just need some information about Joseph Kavinsky.”

Now this seemed to confuse them. The tension eased out of the girl’s shoulders slightly, although the grey man seemed even more focused on him. Gansey gestured for him to sit, which he did after the rest of them had settled into the various haphazard armchairs that were clustered around a coffee table, hidden under mountains of paper and clippings, as well as what looked like a miniature cardboard town.

The girl sent off another text, and then they waited until two boys entered. One of them, he recognized from the school website- a tall boy who looked vaguely washed out, as if someone had drained the colors from him until he was left with pale eyes, sandy hair and faded clothes.
The coca-cola logo on his shirt looked cracked, as if he’d run it through the wash more times than he could count. Unusual, for an Aglionby student, but in his photo on the website, where he looked uncomfortable as he accepted some award in Latin, Adam Parrish had been wearing what looked to be a second hand uniform. It didn’t detract from his beauty, though- he had high cheekbones and delicate features, looking slightly otherworldly but exactly Andrew’s type. He didn’t stop his gaze from lingering on those cheekbones until the other boy growled slightly, stepping in front of him.

Shame, when the pretty ones were taken. Ronan Lynch, though, looked far more like Kavinsky’s taste in men- maybe they shopped at the same Hot Topic, with all the edgy goth aesthetic that was going on in Henrietta. He had tattoos curling over his shoulders, head shaved and blue eyes that glared at Andrew.

He slumped into a seat next to Parrish, and spoke.
“So, you want to know about Kavinsky?”

Andrew leveled his gaze. “Yes. Kavinsky, and who was supposed to be your father’s successor.”

This got a reaction from him and the grey man. Interesting.

“What’s my father got to do with this?” The words were spat out, and Ronan sounded angry.

“I want to know about his employers, and who took over when he died.”

“When he was killed, you mean.” The words were harsh, but didn’t seem to be directed at Andrew. The group collectively winced, and the grey man held his hands up as if apologizing. It looked like they’d had this argument before, whatever it was.

“Sure. I don’t care about how he died, I care about why none of his kids took over the business of selling impossibly good fakes and drugs no one’s ever heard of. I care about why Joseph Kavinsky is working for them instead, and why they’re coming for my friend.”

The group’s posture stiffened slightly. Ronan spoke again, quieter.

“You a dreamer?”

“No.”

A voice behind him piped up, and Andrew startled again when the smudgy boy caught his attention. What was going on?

“He doesn’t feel like a dreamer. Blue?”

The girl shook her head, too. “Noah’s right, I’m not getting that either.”

Andrew bristled. “I don’t lie.”

Ronan smiled, at that. “Neither do I. But you’re talking to the wrong person. Declan helped with dad’s business, not me. I don’t know who his bosses where, and I don’t know what Kavinsky’s doing. He doesn’t go to school, he just holds parties and races.”

Gansey sniffed at that. Andrew contemplated for a few seconds, then decided.

“What does the name Moriyama mean to you?”

Most of the room looked clueless, but the grey man had a gun out before Andrew could even blink, aimed at his head.

His voice was a monotone, too, but it was not designed to intimidate, or borne out of boredom, like Andrew’s. He seemed to blend into the walls, even when Andrew looked at him. It was a voice for hiding, for blending in. His whole being screamed ‘forgettable’, except it didn’t scream it at all, just whispered it then faded back into it’s surroundings.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t shoot you.”

Andrew scoffed. “Because I’m clearly not with the Moriyamas if I’m here asking about them, am I? I’m trying to protect someone because I made a promise, and Joseph Kavinsky is being difficult because Riko managed to convince him to put all his energy and dreams into getting Kevin back to the Nest.”

“Kevin Day?” Gansey’s voice was excited, suddenly, but sunk back into the cushion when Adam glared at him.

The man lowered his gun, though, so Andrew counted that as a win. Ronan regarded him carefully.

“K wouldn’t work for the mafia, if that’s what you’re implying. I don’t know who Riko is, or why he wants whoever Kevin is back, but Kavinsky doesn’t need money or favors, and he wouldn’t let himself be blackmailed into anything. The only reason he’s going after your friend would be personal interest.”

That seemed about right. Who needed money when they had the power to create anything? Not create, maybe. Drag it out of the dreamworld by it’s neck, steal from even his own dreams.

“He has personal interest.”

The grey man spoke again. “In Kevin Day?”

“In me.”

At this, Ronan narrowed his eyes again, and seemed to realize something. “You’re Andrew Doe,”

Andrew snarled. “Minyard, now.”

This had Mr President piping up again. “Andrew Minyard? I read an article about you and Kevin, Palmetto State Foxes, right?”

Adam laughed. “You guys are ranked last.”

“Yes, Kevin does like to remind me.”

Ronan spoke again. “You’re out of juvie, though. What’s the mafia doing with Exy? Kevin Day’s some kind of celebrity, right?”

This time, the grey man answered the question. “Exy is the mafia. The Moriyamas are Japanese yakuza, and they founded the sport. The branch family, with Riko Moriyama, run it.”

Andrew stared at him. “You know this stuff? Did you work for them?”

The grey man winced slightly, and the girl, Blue, spoke up. “That’s not important. The point is, Kavinsky isn’t with the mafia. Ronan’s dad did dealings with lots of people, but that business is over now that he’s dead. Ronan’s not continuing it. I don’t exactly recommend talking to that asshole, but whatever issue he has with you is personal. You were in juvie together?”

Andrew nodded, and she continued. “If you get him to leave you alone, then the Moriyamas won’t have any way to get to Kevin. There aren’t many dreamers, and if Kavinsky’s working for them then they must be desperate- god knows no one who had a choice would put up with him.”

It’s a solid theory. Riko doesn’t have much power in the family- the only reason he’s able to come after Kevin because of Kavinsky being his weapon.
Then, Andrew regarded Ronan, and the grey man. “A dreamer and an ex-mafia mobster who keeps a gun in his pocket could be useful.”

Gansey looked confused. “With what?”

The answer seems obvious, to Andrew, and by the look in the grey man’s eyes, he thinks so too, but he supposes that to a boy growing up in a world with no danger, with private schools and football games, with no more evil surrounding him than his mother’s presidential campaign, the path forward is a lot less obvious.

“I’m going to kill Joseph Kavinsky.”

Chapter Text

Andrew shook off the guard who had led him back down the corridor and scowled as the cell door closed behind him. They still had half an hour before their mandatory daily walk around the facility’s yard, complete with slightly graying grass and a half-hearted attempt at a vegetable garden.

He supposed that as juvenile detention centers went, Oakland wasn’t so bad. They had a proper library, even if the books were scrawled in, and the staff ignored him for the most part. Ironically, in many ways it was a far better place to be than many of the foster homes he’d lived in. Even if he did have to do goddamned Exy once a day to get out of having to participate in the cooking classes or any of the outdoor sports.

He was not about to get sunburned for the sake of soccer, for fuck’s sake. As as goalkeeper, at least he didn’t have to move much. He really didn’t move much at all, considering that he often just let the balls fly past his head without moving a muscle.

But, in the ever-persistent do-gooder attitude of his social worker, he had an appeal coming up to get out a year early. Overcrowding meant that unless you picked fights and proved yourself to be violent, they switched out the beds pretty quickly for the endless stream of kids that poured through the California prison system.

Oakland was a poor neighborhood, and the police just loved to stop and search every black kid they came across, meaning that despite the fact that Andrew had a terrible track record of violence and threats, it had taken him trying to steal a police car before they’d hauled him in to the station in cuffs.

It he were anyone else, Andrew would call that privilege.

But then, if he were anyone else, someone less small and blond and innocent looking, he wouldn’t have needed to get himself arrested in the first place.

He put those thoughts out of his mind, and began to plan. He needed to stay in juvie, needed to keep himself out of the Spears’ house and Aaron far, far away.

Kavinsky was lying on his bunk, tossing a ball up and catching it before it landed on his face. He looked up when Andrew entered, a lobbed the ball at his face instead. Andrew caught it, and chucked it onto his own bed as K pouted.

“What’s got you all frowny, ‘Drew?” Andrew ignored the nickname, and attempted to ignore the boy, too, but Kavinsky wasn’t giving up.

“Did someone pick a fight with you? Insult your mommy?” He sounded delighted at the thought.

Andrew climbed the ladder to his bunk and scowled at the ceiling. There were names scratched into the plaster, a shitty drawing of a dagger and several gang signs. His distaste only grew when his eyes flicked over to the swastika gouged into the window frame. He needed to ignore the drugged up idiot in the bunk below himself and focus on making a plan.

He wanted to pick someone hot-tempered, who’d retaliate, and preferably someone loud and large who’d attract the most attention and ensure the wardens couldn’t ignore the fight. But then, it also had to be someone who would punch him and move on- he didn’t have the time or energy to deal with petty grudges.

Below him, Kavinsky had let his stream of consciousness move on to focus on one of the guys from the purple block he’d pissed off this morning.

Usually, Andrew tried to tune out the blabbering, leaving K to fill the room with white noise. But today, he interrupted.
“Is he gonna try and fight you?”

Kavinsky sounded blasé. “Probably,”

“Good. Piss him off, I need to start a fight.”

There was a pause, and Andrew was grateful that he couldn’t see the fucked-up smile on K’s face that he knew was looking up at him. Kavinsky’s voice was mocking, and he seemed to enunciate that Henrietta drawl move than ever when he replied.

“Whatever you say, Andrew.”

Later, when Kavinsky had riled up the guy, and Andrew had beaten him to a pulp, Kavinsky laughed maniacally as a guard blew on his whistle and stormed over to throw Andrew back into his cell.

“My hero!” He pretended to swoon just as the guards reached them, and tapped two of his finger to his temple in a mocking salute as Andrew let himself be manhandled away.

**************

Gansey, Adam, and even Ronan reeled away from him at the words. Blue regarded him warily, but didn’t move, and the grey man simply leaned forward and sat down.

“How?”

Well. Wasn’t that the question. He needed it to look like an accident- he wasn’t keen on going back to prison, not when he had people to protect, and he couldn’t risk bringing the Moriyamas down on his head in retaliation. That left his tried-and tested method.

He looked around at the group, and noticed the calluses on pretty-boy Parrish’s hands, and the smear of motor oil on his faded jeans.

“Fiddle with the brakes of his car, agree to race with him, then stage a little car crash. If he doesn’t die, I knock him out, leave him in the car, and torch it.”

The group gaped at him. The grey man- who still hadn’t offered his name- frowned. “That won’t work.”

“It worked perfectly on the last person I tried it,”

The man shook his head again. “You shouldn’t leave any chance of injury to yourself in things like this. It’s sloppy.”

“I wasn’t particularly concerned about surviving.” He let the admission hang in the air for a few seconds, before turning back to Adam’s haunting blue eyes. He definitely had a thing for blue eyes.

“You good with cars?” He nodded at the oil stain, and Parrish looked down at it and swore.
“Oh, shit. But yeah, I’m a mechanic.”

At this, Ronan growled again. “You’re not getting him involved in whatever murder you’re planning.”

Andrew let a flicker of amusement show as he raised his hands. “Okay, okay, I won’t incriminate your boyfriend,”

This seemed to get a bigger reaction than his first announcement. Gansey choked on the air, Ronan looked murderous, and Blue looked like she was laughing under the outrage she portrayed. Andrew didn’t fail to notice the way a pink flush crept up Ronan’s neck, or the way Adam protested a bit too quickly.

Noah laughed, properly laughed, and Andrew shook himself at the realization that once again he’d managed to forget about his existence entirely, even in the same room as him.

So maybe the group needed to figure out their own feelings. Whatever. Andrew waited until they’d all expressed their denial, then Ronan spoke up.

“It wouldn’t work, anyway. He’s lazy, doesn’t bother putting engines or mechanics behind the pedals. The brakes work, but there’d be nothing to tamper with.”

Andrew contemplated this for a second. “Overdose? You could dream up some pills.”

Ronan spat. “I’m not going to fucking murder him, Minyard. I may not like the guy, but he’s still human.” Andrew noticed the cross around his neck, and guessed it probably wasn’t going to be worth trying to push the subject, although he couldn’t help but reply, “You don’t actually know that.”

He thought about it for a while longer. The Fourth of July was coming up, and someone like Kavinsky was sure to celebrate the occasion with a boatload of drugs.

“He have a party for Fourth of July? I’ll deal with it, but it would be easy enough with some cocaine and some fireworks. Prokopenko died in the Henrietta river once, I’ll chuck his body in there. Drunk guy who partied too hard, got entangled in explosives, drowned in the river. Case closed.”

The expressions around the room ranged from silent approval from the grey man to Gansey’s horrified gaping. No one protested, though, so Andrew left them to sit in shocked silence, and made his way out to the GS.

As he smoked a cigarette out the open window, Andrew thought about Jospeh Kavinsky, and the twisted mess he’d got himself into.

Chapter Text

It had been a month. A month of planning, of meticulous research and Kevin snapping at him to focus when his mind was back in Henrietta, Virginia, and it had all gone to shit.

Had all gone to shit because Dick Gansey had called him from the car, with hysteria in his voice as he told Andrew that “Matthew’s gone”

Fucking Kavinsky. Andrew had spent so long sitting on rooftops, trying to get himself to feel, and had finally managed it, only to remember exactly why he stopped feeling in the first place.

Anger hurt. Anger was burning him up.

He was on fire, speeding down the highway with gritted teeth, biting the inside of his mouth until he could taste blood. He’s angry because he thought he was done with this shit, and Bee’s voice is buzzing in his ear, and all he can hear is that buzz and all he can see is blown-out eyes.

Joseph Kavinsky would be the death of him, if he let him. But Andrew had spent too long trying to survive to give up now, so he floored the gas pedal and sped towards Henrietta, Virginia.

He’d already been in the car when he’d got the call- today was the Fourth of July, and it was the day Joseph Kavinsky was going to die.

**************

It happened in a field, of all places. A field full of dreams and liars and fireworks that lit up the sky. Ronan and his posse of idiotic teenagers weren’t here yet, but somewhere in this field Kavinsky had stashed Matthew Lynch away.

A man came to close, staggering and stumbling against Andrew as he tried to grab him to steady himself. He stopped just before he touched him, maybe seeing the look in Andrew’s eyes.

He scanned the field, and realized that one of the hundreds of identical white cars seemed to be right on the outskirts of the field, away from the bonfire and the fireworks but overseeing the people who trickled in, bottles in their hands and white powder in their pockets. It was almost as if it was watching them.

He turned away from the preparations, and slowly approached the car. He could make out a figure in the front seat, but it had black hair, not Matthew’s gold.

Andrew slid into the passenger seat, and gazed out a shattered windscreen at a field of white Mitsubishi’s. There was going to be a party here; there was a car burning somewhere off to his left, and he could hear the whoops and jeers as Kavinsky’s pack of friends threw things onto the bonfire and tipped vodka down their throats, the burn of the alcohol making them splutter.

It seemed that burning was a common theme tonight.

The windows of the car were darkened slightly, and the cracks webbing through the glass made it opaque and almost delicate looking. You couldn’t see anything outside, except a warm orange glow that lit up Kavinsky’s face as he turned to Andrew.

With a start, Andrew realized that his eyes were brown. A dark brown, almost black, but not quite- there was a person behind those eyes, one who wasn’t high for the first time since they’d met. No, Kavinsky’s pupils weren’t blown out, pools of black that threatened to drag you into their hollowness right along with them. You could see their colour, one that had always been too thin of a ring around those black holes to tell what they really looked like.

It seemed wrong, for Andrew to observe this. Uncomfortable in a way that felt like he was intruding on something sacred or maybe awful. He was seeing Kavinsky without his masks or his drugs, one that didn’t care enough anymore to keep up any of his faces.

Andrew didn’t want to see this. There was something wrong in his eyes- there always was, but this was wrong in a different sense. He looked angry, yes- he looked furious. The burning car outside, the one he could feel the heat of even from here, paled in comparison to the fire in Kavinsky’s eyes. But he also looked almost scared, as if he knew what andrew had planned for this evening.

Those awful eyes flicked down to his armbands.

When Kavinsky spoke, his voice was quiet. It whispered, like this was holy ground. A church, perhaps. It could have been a sacred moment in time, for the way K seemed scared to break the quiet as if the silence was the only thing holding him up.

“Why’d you do it?”

It was clear what he was talking about, when his eyes lingered on black armbands.

“What’s it like, wanting to die for so long? How’d you keep on going?”

This was what made Andrew speak. “I didn’t want to die.”

And he hadn’t. Those scars on his wrists were just the evidence that Andrew had clung so desperately to his life that he was willing to bleed for it, to bleed for the mother he hadn’t had. He’d done what was necessary to keep on going, to keep him from ending it by taking back the smallest bit of control. He had spent so long with people taking what they wanted from his body, but those times he had been reclaiming it for himself.

He had gripped onto life with everything he had. But it hadn’t been real, the life he was clinging to. He knew that now, that it hadn’t been worth spilling his blood over a woman who’d smile as if that stopped his suffering.

But that wasn’t what Kavinsky wanted to hear.

“I think I get it now, Andrew. Always thought you were crazy, with those knives. I get it now.”

Kavinsky hadn’t turned his longing inwards. He’d left his mark on the world, left the wreckage behind his explosions. Pain turned outwards, into cutting words and too sharp teeth, while he’d tried to fill his empty soul with drugs and alcohol, and had only succeeding in making himself even more hollow.

“Tell me this. You’re like Ronan, you don’t lie. Tell me the truth.”

He was right- Andrew wouldn’t lie to him, whatever he asked. With whatever was whirling through K’s head right now, Andrew wasn’t sure if the truth was what he needed.
But that’s what he would give.

“Would you save me? Would you go back for me?”

Andrew heard the question that went unasked. Would anyone in the world, anyone he hadn’t dreamed up himself, care enough about Joseph Kavinsky to try and pull him out of the fires he built underneath himself?

He told the truth. “No.”

Maybe Lynch would. Andrew didn’t know what was between them, but Lynch had come back to the barns with a perfect replica of an orange Camaro, and without Kavinsky. He must have been doing it with K, if he’d managed anything like that in only a night. Then he’d gone back to Gansey, leaving Kavinsky with nothing but a field of white Mitsubishi’s and a dream that nodded along to whatever he said.

But Lynch wasn’t a killer. Wouldn’t leave him to die. Andrew had proved time and time again that he would do anything for his family, that he would sacrifice everything for the people he cared about, and that he could count on one hand the number of people he’d go back for in a zombie apocalypse.

Aaron, Nicky, Kevin, Bee.

There was space for one more on that list, one more finger left to go. Maybe he’d find someone, another stray to take in and break their promises and leave Andrew with nothing more than even more pain and memories he could never let go of.

But Kavinsky wasn’t that person. Kavinsky wasn’t in his story- they weren’t each other’s stories.

So Andrew just looked at him, at the hair and the glasses and the rips in his designer clothing and those awful, too-familiar eyes. Then he spoke, flatly and without any emotion.

“Where’s Matthew?”

Kavinsky laughed then. It was probably the first time Andrew had heard him laugh, properly and without a drug-induced mania. There was nothing left in Kavinsky, not drugs or promises or anything tethering him to the world except that fire in his eyes.

“He’s in a white car.”

The glass in the windows of the car was cracked and opaque, but through the fog Andrew looked out onto a field of cars, hundreds and hundreds of identical white cars.

He didn’t spare Kavinsky another look as he slid out of the car, but through the open door he could see the way K slumped back, his eyes drifting closed as he fell into sleep. Those white sunglasses settled awkwardly on his nose, in a way that must be digging in, but Kavinsky didn’t seem to notice.

**********

He would’ve come back. Not to save Kavinsky, but maybe not to kill him either. Maybe he would have left the Moriyamas for good, if he’d lived.

Instead, Andrew had watched from the other side of the field, impassive, as fire raged at whatever horrors Ronan had created to fight it. He watched as Ronan pleaded, as Kavinsky grinned one last time. He didn’t hear what he said, but he could see his lips move even from here.

‘The world’s a nightmare.’

And wasn’t that true. The world was a nightmare because they made it so, because people were cruel and selfish. Kavinsky had only ever made his own little corner of the world even worse.

He was dead, so it was over.

There was no finality to it, no heavy weight that settled onto Andrew’s shoulders. Maybe there should have been, but there wasn’t. He looked at the body with the same blankness as his mother’s, checked the pulse, then let the still-warm wrist fall back to the floor.

For once, he was glad of his blankness. After all, coping mechanisms develop for a reason. He didn’t want to think about what emotions might be running through him if he let them.

Kavinsky had been an annoyance. A convenient, though irritating, presence that Andrew had hardly thought about since he left juvie, and who he wouldn’t miss. Perhaps Bee would have some things to say about that, and he would listen and deny them and slowly, grudgingly accept- there was a reason she’d lasted so long, after all.

There would be someone new, eventually, to catch Andrew’s interest. Maybe Kevin would follow through on his promise, and give Andrew something to live for, or maybe it would be someone else, someone with just as much fire as Kavinsky, but who wouldn’t burn Andrew in the crossfire.

For now, Kevin was safe, and Riko was powerless, and Andrew was as empty as ever. There was no more pain, no more pleasure, no more spikes of anger or contentment. He was empty, and Kavinsky was dead.

So Andrew walked into a field of fire, of alcohol and swarming teenagers, drinks and cigarettes and white Mitsubishi’s, and left Joseph Kavinsky behind, white sunglasses masking black eyes that turned out not to be so black after all.