A/n: Thanks for reviewing. Enjoy!
Friday, February 24th – What He Wants
I walk into the House meeting room and my eyes immediately fall on Wendy and Jaska. The former is sitting at the table while the latter is leaned up against the wall. Both of them are silent, avoiding each other's gaze. I scowl to myself, but push the frustration at them away a second later. There are more important things to think about right now.
"What's going on?" I ask. "Why the cryptic text message telling me it was urgent I get here?"
Jaska shakes his head. "I don't know. I got the same message."
"Me too," says Wendy. She's staring anxiously and miserably down on her folded hands on the table. Her face is ashen and her eyes have dark circles beneath them that not even her makeup can hide. It looks like she's barely gotten any sleep.
Same goes for Jaska.
Same goes for me.
But I guess that's to be expected when it's only been a week since Erik and Eva were killed. While the worst of the pain has faded, lessening to where we can all function again, it still hurts like you wouldn't believe. The pain of losing them is still there.
I think it always will be.
I'm just about to say something—though, I'm not really sure what—when I'm distracted by the door opening behind me. Reflexively, I turn around to see who it is.
Looking just as haggard as the rest of us.
"What's going on, Marley?" Wendy asks him, beating me to it. "Why did you call us here?"
The professor, who had just taken a seat at the table with a weary sigh, gives Wendy a puzzled frown. A second later, he shakes his head and tells her, "I didn't."
My head snaps in the direction of that voice—his voice—so sharply that it hurts my neck. I don't care. 'Cause he's here. After a week of not seeing or hearing from him, there he is.
Tension I didn't even know I had abruptly disappears from my body just by being in his presence. I exhale shakily and gaze at Gavin with a small, relieved smile.
Which is replaced with a shocked blink not even a second later when I actually see him.
When I notice it.
Instead of standing meekly by the door with shy eyes, an expression that clearly shows how he hates being the center of attention, and hunched body language to match, Gavin stands there with his spine straight and his head up. His face is impassive and assertive, his eyes hard and direct. And, now that I think about it, his voice when he spoke was strong, authoritative, and stanch.
The bolt of desire that strikes through me at that moment has nothing to do with not having seen him for a week.
"Why?" Jaska asks. "What have you been doing?"
Before answering the Finnish man directly, Gavin throws a folder down onto the table. He jerks his chin at it and then meets and holds Jaska's gaze unwaveringly. I don't fail to notice the surprised way Jaska blinks at him.
"That's the plan to get into Murdoch's headquarters," Gavin tells us. "If everything goes smoothly—which is should—it's practically foolproof."
"Wait," Wendy says, shaking her head. She's already reached for the folder, opened it, and skimmed a bit of what's there. "Gavin. No. This is dangerous. Why do we need to get into Murdoch's headquarters anyway?"
"Because I need to get to his main computers," he says.
Gavin holds up an USB drive, his expression still stony. "This has a virus on it that will shut down the activity on every single chip and make it impossible for them to ever be reactivated. But, for it to work, I need to upload it directly to Murdoch's servers."
"Ah. That's what you've been doing," Jaska mutters with an amused snort. Gavin gives him a tight smile that doesn't reach his eyes.
"Gavin—no!" Wendy exclaims. "That's too dangerous and—"
"I don't care," he says. "I'm going to do it. With or without your help. You have two weeks to decide which it's going to be."
With that said, he turns away from Wendy, effectively dismissing her, and looks straight at me for the first time since he entered the room. His expression remains blank, but his eyes, which were unyielding and unsympathetic several seconds ago, visibly soften and warm the instant they meet with mine. My heart skips a beat.
Then, Gavin abruptly turns to walk out of the room without another word to any of us. And, upon tacit agreement, I follow him.
He leads me down several hallways, getting us a good distance away from the meeting room, before he finally stops. I stop too, and wait patiently for him to turn around. When he does, I see that most of the sureness and clout he'd displayed in front of the others has drained away and been replaced by exhaustion. But there's a hard-set look about his jaw and eyes that tells me that it's still there, just hidden underneath his tiredness. That this newfound confidence of his isn't gone for good.
I don't think I can say the same about Gavin's meekness. Something tells me he's no longer that shy, awkward kid anymore.
And while that kind of makes me a little sad, because those things were some of what I loved most about him, I'm not too upset. Actually, I'm not that upset at all. 'Cause he's still my Gavin. Nothing about that has change. I know it.
I can see it right now in the way he's looking at me.
The relief that washes over me almost makes me fall to my knees. Almost. But I don't. Instead, I just smile at him, hoping it conveys how happy I am that he's back—that he hasn't decided what happened between us the last time we were together ruined anything.
Gavin smiles vaguely back and reaches out to cup my face between his hands. My eyes fall close on their own accord as I lean into his touch with a sigh. Not even a few seconds later, I feel Gavin's lips brush against my forehead in one of those almost-but-not-quite kisses. I sigh again.
Then, I tell him quietly, "I missed you."
"I missed you, too," he replies. "So much. And I'm really sorry for leaving. But…I just had to, you know?"
"Thank you," he whispers.
The next thing I know, his arms are around me, holding me so tightly it's nearly painful. I don't care. 'Cause I've missed it—missed him—more than I can describe. If he wants to hug me to the point where it makes it difficult for me to breathe, good. 'Cause I'm going to do the same damn thing to him. I am doing the same damn thing to him, nuzzling my face into his hair and the crook of his neck, and running my hands greedily up and down his spine. Gavin lets out a sound somewhere between a relieved, thankful sigh and a delighted whimper.
"Come home with me," he murmurs in my ear a moment later. He rubs his nose against my cheek, ignoring how his glasses get in the way and make it a bit challenging. "Spend the night with me."
I grin and kiss him on the side of the neck. "You don't even have to ask."
About forty minutes later, Gavin and I are laying on his bed, in silence, nose-to-nose, legs tangled together, holding each other's gaze. That's the only reason I haven't fallen asleep yet—I don't want to close my eyes and no longer see that beautiful dove grey of his. But he's making it hard for me. The way he continuously rubs his knuckles across my cheek is one of the most soothing things I've ever felt.
And, of course, there's also the fact that I just don't want to look away from him. I need to make up for the week I didn't see him at all.
When his hand ventures closer to my mouth, I turn my head slightly so I can press my lips to the back of his fingers, still keeping my eyes locked with his. Gavin lets out a breath, a soft, wondrous smile appearing on his lips.
But then his expression is taken over with unexpected worry, making his eyebrows furrow and his eyes melancholy.
"How are you doing?" he asks in a gentle whisper.
I shake my head. "Not too fantastically, to be perfectly honest with you. But not horribly, either. At least, not anymore. The first couple of days? Yeah…"
"I'm sorry I wasn't here for you," Gavin says earnestly, brushing some hair from my forehead. "I just—I had to go. I needed to be—"
"I know," I cut him off. I reach up to run my thumb along his cheekbone, smiling tenderly and understandingly at him. "I get it. But that doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that you're here now. I'm already feeling a whole lot better than I was just by having you with me."
Gavin gives me an incredibly grateful look, his eyes large and lovely. "You're a wonder, you know that?"
"Thanks," I say with a silent chuckle. Then, I gaze at him searchingly as I slip an arm around his waist and pull him closer. "What about you?" I ask. "How are you doing?"
"I'm…okay," he tells me, and I can see and hear that he's telling the truth. "Creating that virus was sort of a way for me to cope—to help me pay my last respects to Erik and Eva. Does that make sense?"
I nod. He nods back.
"Good. But…Simon, to tell you the truth, I don't feel that upset or sad. I just feel angry. I…it's like the grief I should feel over their deaths has been completely drowned out by my hatred towards Murdoch."
"Well, that's understandable," I say. "I mean—"
"No, Simon." Gavin shakes his head, staring directly into my eyes with the most serious look I have ever seen him give. "It's not understandable. When I say I hate him, I mean I fucking hate him. So much that I want him dead. I want a bullet in his brain. And I want to be the one who puts it there."
"I know," he says. His jaw is clenched and he's no longer looking at me, but glaring over my shoulder. "It's not right, but—fuck, Simon, he deserves it. He's taken so much from so many people. Family, friends, freedom. And for what—to gain power? It's…it's incomprehensible to me how someone can be megalomanic and heartless enough to do what he's done. Who knows how many people he's enslavedand murdered.
"I hate him," Gavin continues, his voice suddenly a lot quieter than before. "And I hate the bloody Project. I wish it had never happened so all these people didn't have to die needlessly. I wish there wasn't such a thing as a microchip capable of mind control. I wish I could have done something to keep everybody from being killed—not just Erik and Eva, but everyone. Like your mom.
"But wishing does shit. I know that. Which is why I created the virus." He looks back at me, his eyes resolute and severe. "I can't bring people back. I can't change the past so no one ever died or was turned into a mindless slave in the first place. But I can stop it from happening in the future. I can make sure that the chips, the Shadow, and Murdoch are shut down. For good. I'm going to do it. Even if that includes killing Murdoch."
I gaze silently and forlornly at him. He stares back at me, his expression unyielding. Which tells me he's absolutely serious. If he gets the chance, he'll do it.
He'll kill Murdoch.
I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, a part of me wants to do the same thing. But I don't think I ever could if I was actually given the chance. It's just…taking another human's life, even if that human is a power-hungry, murderous bastard, seems like it would change me. Not for the better, either. And I know that I would probably regret it afterwards.
Gavin would too. I know that because I know him. He's too good of a person—he has too good of a soul. Right now, he thinks he'll be able to kill Murdoch without any consequences. But that's not true. Eventually, it'll start to get to him. It'll start to tear him apart from the inside-out, and he won't be able to live with himself. He'll begin to hate himself.
Which is why, if and when it comes down to it—and hopefully it never does—I won't let him go through with it. Somehow, I'll find a way to stop him from killing Murdoch. Not for Murdoch's sake. For Gavin's and Gavin's alone.
But only when it's about to happen. 'Cause I know that if I tried to convince him right now, it wouldn't do any good. I can see it in his eyes.
So, I just nod reluctantly then pull him close. Gavin comes without hesitation, resting his head on my shoulder, his nose pressed to my neck and his arm slung across my torso. We lay there in silence for a moment or so before he gives a short, snorting laugh through his nose.
"You know what's crazy?" he asks afterwards, in a whisper.
"Despite how much I hate the Project and everything that's a consequence of it, I honestly can't bring myself to completely hate it, because the fact remains that, if it hadn't happened, I would have never met you."
I smile and rest my head on top of his. "I don't think that's true. Marley and my mom knew each other way before the Project. We would've met eventually."
"…yeah, okay," Gavin agrees after a second's pause. "You're probably right. But regardless of how it happened, I just want you to know that I'm incredibly happy to have met you—to be with you. It overshadows everything else I feel. Honestly, having you with me makes it all so much more bearable. Does that…that doesn't sound foolish, does it?"
"No," I murmur, pressing a kiss to his hair. "'Cause I feel the same."
Gavin sighs with relief. "Good." He silent for a few, thoughtful seconds before he begins to speak again, this time very carefully, as if he wants to make sure he uses the right words.
"You know, besides working on the virus, I was doing a lot of thinking this past week and…and I came to the conclusion that I can't hesitate anymore. That I have to stop worrying so much about how people are going to react to me. That, if I want to say or do something, then I just need to say and do it. Because what if I don't get another chance? What if something happens to me or—god forbid—to you before then?"
"It won't," I assure him, and hug him tighter.
"You don't know that," Gavin counters. "I don't know that. And I'm sure that's what Erik and Eva thought—that they would have the chance after we got back from your mom's lab to tell us all they were engaged. But they didn't. And I don't want that to happen to me, to you, or to us. I don't want to keep putting things off with the thought that I can always do it tomorrow. Because what if I can't?" He pulls out of my embrace to sit up, hovering over and gazing down at me. His eyes are bright with a strong emotion that I can't place but makes it impossible for me to do anything other than stare up at him.
"I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow," he continues in a whisper. "I only know what's happening right now. Meaning I can't take the present for granted—I won't take it for granted." He shakes his head slowly. "Not anymore."
"Gavin, what are you—?"
He cuts me off by leaning down and pressing his lips to mine. The kiss is unlike any other I've had. It lingers in a way that seems to last forever. It's so tender and sweet that it makes me ache and my eyes start to water. Yet, it's still somehow so incredibly passionate that it causes my heart to suddenly feel like it's ready to pound out of my chest.
I have never felt so amazing in my life. There's nothing in the world that can top this. Nothing can make this better. Nothing can be any bet—
"Simon, I love you," Gavin whispers against my lips.
My breath catches in my throat, where my heart has jumped to, and I stare up at Gavin with large eyes. He stares back at me, unwaveringly, his grey gaze absolutely, one-hundred percent, without-a-doubt sincere. Which means I have to take back what I said. There is something in the world that can top that kiss, make it better, and be better.
And that's hearing Gavin tell me those four words and seeing the truth of them in the way he's looking at me.
With a breathless laugh, I take Gavin's face between my hands and bring him down so I can press my lips back to his.
"I love you, too," I murmur in-between kisses. "So much. So incredibly much." I press my forehead to his and stare deeply into his eyes. "More than I have the words to tell you."
Gavin's breathe catches and his eyes widen, much like mine did. "Simon…" he says quietly.
Then, then next thing I know, he's kissing me with more fervor than ever before. I kiss him back just as enthusiastically, wrapping my arms around him, tangling one hand in his hair. Our lips move with and against the other's, our tongues slide together, and our breaths mingle and mix, quickly changing to heavy, ragged pants.
But it isn't until Gavin takes his glasses off, tosses them aside, and slips a hand under my shirt that I know he means business.
"Gavin, are you sure?" I ask, my voice muffled by his lips, tongue, and kisses. In spite of that, he somehow manages to understand me.
"Yes," he says breathlessly.
"But last time—"
Gavin stops kissing me to meet my gaze. His is determined, decided, and full of desire.
"I know," he says. "It shouldn't have happened like that. But it did. And that's okay because, despite the circumstances, it really was fantastic. I don't regret it—not even a little." He kisses me softly and reassuringly, his hand stroking up and down my side in a way that gets my blood surging to a very specific part of my body. "I love you. I don't just want to say it to you, I want to show you and prove it to you."
"But you don't have to," I try to tell him, but Gavin shakes his head at me with a smile and a quiet laugh.
"You're not listening to me," he says. "I want to." He leans down until his lips just barely brush the cartilage of my ear. "I want you," Gavin whispers huskily, lightly nipping at my lobe.
A strangled noise escapes my throat and, before I even think about it, I'm rolling us over so I'm pinning him to the bed. "Yes," I growl, and then begin to kiss him so passionately that there's a good possibility I just might suffocate him.
From the way Gavin laughs, kisses me back with an equal amount of passion, and clings and touches me with greedy hands, I don't think he minds that much. Actually, from the way he responds to me, I'd say that's what he wants.
We take it slow this time. We kiss until both of us are shaking and out of breath with need. Then, we unhurriedly take off our clothes, one piece at a time, still kissing all the while. Once we're both naked, we take turns exploring each other's bodies, first with eyes, then with hands, and then with lips, teeth, and tongue, learning which spots deserve more attention than others.
I teach Gavin what it feels like to have his cock licked, sucked, and swallowed. He demonstrates just how deft, nimble, and capable those long, elegant fingers of his can be, even when they're not on a keyboard.
Afterwards, we lay naked and entwined together, lazily kissing and touching as we drift off into sleep. The last thing I'm aware of before I fall completely unconscious is the whispered words "I love you" gently breaking the silence. I'm too far gone to tell which one of us said it. Maybe we both did.
Yeah. That seems right.
We both did.