I'm glad to see that there are a few more Mavin fics up here. Its severely lacking compared to other websites like tumblr and Ao3. I posted this on tumblr already as queencookieboo. It'd be a bitch formatting all of this in Ao3 so maybe I'll upload it there some other time. Enjoy!
Warning: Includes Major Character Death.
Disclaimer: I do not associate myself with RoosterTeeth or Achievement Hunter.
Michael finished taping up the box of stuff from the master bedroom. He sighed as he looked at how empty the house was. Of course that wasn't the only thing that was empty, but that's a story for another time.
"Hey dad, can you come here for a sec?" a shout was heard from the other room.
Going down the hall and into the living room, Michael found his son Jackson putting some old picture frames into a box, "Hey buddy, whatcha need?"
The 15 year old held up a particular photo, "Who's this in the picture with you?"
Michael walked up and took the picture from his son's hands. The moment he saw who it was, he felt tears start brewing in his eyes. It looks like the time for that story was sooner than he thought. The unbelievably large nose, the ruffled hair, and that goofy smile could only mean one person: Gavin Free-Jones. The picture was of the two of them, back in their Achievement Hunter days. Someone had sent them hoodies of their Minecraft skins, so Michael and Gavin put them on for a photo. Right before Geoff took the picture, Michael leaned over and gave Gavin a quick kiss on the cheek. If only they knew back then just what the future held for them.
"That's your other dad, Jackson. The one I talk about in stories sometimes." He said, his eyes never leaving Gavin's surprised, yet gleeful, expression in the picture, "His name was Gavin, and I loved him a lot."
Jackson raised an eyebrow at 'was' in confusion, "What happened to him?"
Michael set the picture frame down, rubbing his eyes from underneath his glasses, "It's a bit of a long story. You probably don't remember him. After all, you were barely three when… when he died."
"Is that why we had to move before I started preschool?" The young teen asked hesitantly, knowing how touchy of a subject this must be.
Wiping his eyes, Michael nodded, "Yeah, your dad got very sick. It was all so sudden, like neither of us saw it coming." Almost overcome with the familiar grief, he forced himself to sit down, "It was just a little headache. Gavin never felt sick, he had such strength and willpower, and that any sickness was like nothing to him. But this was different, and I'll never forget what he said to me that day."
"What did he say?"
Michael sighed and motioned for his son to sit down next to him, "Why don't we start from the beginning… it all began when I saw your father on my first day full-time at the RoosterTeeth office: August 15th 2011. I'd seen Gavin before around the office and stuff, but if I said I didn't like what I saw, I'd be lying…"
Michael finished unpacking the last of his stuff in the Achievement Hunter office. This was so surreal, he was actually working full time at RoosterTeeth. That was when he realized he'd achieved his dream job. From that moment, he knew life was gonna turn for the better. His thoughts were cut short as he heard to voices approaching the office.
"But Geoff, I don't want Rage Quit to sit next to me! He's just gonna yell at me!"
"Yeah and how is that any different from you? You yell at your computer fifty times a day."
"Maybe if the computers weren't so bloody slow, I wouldn't have to!"
Michael tried to look elsewhere as the bickering duo entered the room.
Geoff noticed the 24 year old first, "Hey Michael, how's it feel to be an official member of RoosterTeeth?"
"Pretty cool I guess, it's gonna be nice getting to use the equipment you guys have." Michael replied, shrugging a bit as he set up a few things around his computer. He looked up at the darker man who was just staring at him, "Hi Gavin."
Gavin recoiled like he had been bitten, "Geoff, how does he know my name?"
The older man rolled his eyes and knocked Gavin upside the head, "Don't mind the idiot over here. You'll get used to him after a while."
"Hey dad, I found this poster thing too." Jackson piped up, breaking his father from his storytelling, "There's more people in this."
Taking the rolled-up poster from his son, Michael unraveled it and chuckled, "This was our Achievement Hunter poster that was supposed to look like a boy band. Your dad and I are shoulder to shoulder in it. Damn, we looked good back then."
"So you two eventually got to know each other?"
Setting the poster beside him, Michael nodded, "It didn't take long for us to realize how much we had in common, and soon we were best buds. Before you know it, we were doing videos together, wrestling around and other stupid shit. Then your dad did something so stupid, but it changed our lives. At the time I thought it was such a wonderful thing…"
"Alright guys, time to film AHWU." Jack said, setting up the camera, "I would tell you guys not to screw around behind us but I know that won't do any good."
The lads snickered at each other, knowing Jack was right. While Geoff was doing the intro, Ray leaned over to Michael, "Jack wants us to show the new t-shirt for T-shirt Tuesday, and I've got a plan on what we should do, but I need your help."
"Sure man, as long as we can fuck with Gavin." He whispered back while eyeing their target.
The moment Jack first mentioned T-shirt Tuesday,the mischievous pair grabbed the shirt and snuck up behind Gavin. In one fell swoop, Michael covered the brit with the shirt and put him in a loose headlock.
"Gavin, look, show everybody!" He said as he lifted the shirt up behind Gavin, who was smiling like a blinded idiot at the camera. He turned around to face his captor, who was now draping the shirt over them, as if to hide them from the camera.
Feeling as if they were in slow-motion, he got nose-to-nose with Michael. Gavin looked into the Jersey boy's eyes and saw something there that he hadn't been able to see when they looked at each other from their desks. Acting on impulse, Gavin tilted his head a bit and brought their lips together, just for a brief moment. Once he pulled away, he was afraid to look into those eyes again, but when he did, they were filled with happiness and relief. In those few seconds, something clicked between the two of them.
Michael tried to move but Gavin wrapped his arms around his boy's waist, the most genuine smile on his face that he'd had in years. The couple soon lost their balance and fell to the ground. With Gavin lying on top of him, still beaming, Michael cupped his scruffy face and leaned up to taste those European lips again. He'd never thought he was gay, but there was something about the man above him that drove him wild.
"… but now I know it was probably a terrible thing." Michael finished, his head swirling with old memories, some good and some bad.
"How is it terrible?"
Michael ran a hand through his curly hair and sighed, "It was one of many terrible things, things that seemed so perfect back then. We were so naïve, we thought we were invincible, as if nothing could bring us down from our private little cloud nine."
It was their 2 year anniversary, and they decided they wanted nothing more than to get away from dry old Austin, and go to the beach. Gavin and Michael sat side by side on the beach, their hands intertwined. It was nighttime, with not a cloud in the starry sky, and there was no one else for miles. The cool breeze was refreshing, their hair blowing lightly, as the wind whisked away all of their troubles and doubts. The two weren't looking to do anything crazy like sex on the beach, just some time to themselves.
The peaceful silence was broken at last by Gavin, "Hey Michael."
"You know you're my boy, right?" He said, that ridiculous smile on his face.
The grip on Michael's hand tightened a bit in anticipation, "Of course I do, you idiot—and you're my boy too. Together we are Team Nice Dynamite."
Gavin motioned for both of them to stand up, "I have an anniversary present for you." Reaching into the beach bag they brought with them, he pulled out a towel.
"You gave me a beach towel? Aw, I'm flattered." Michael laughed a bit until he saw the look in Gavin's eyes, "Babe, what's going on?"
Without saying a word, Gavin slowly unfolded the towel to reveal a small box hidden inside. Taking the box, he got down on one knee, and opened the box to reveal a ring inside, "I know that gay marriage won't be allowed in Texas for quite a long time but…"
Michael just stared in shock as Gavin began to say the words Michael used to dream saying to the girl of his dreams someday.
"Michael 'Rage Quit' Jones, will you spend the rest of your life with me?"
Chuckling through tears at the use of his old nickname, Michael nodded and let Gavin put the gold band on his finger. Embracing the man he was going to be with for the rest of his life, Gavin didn't want to moment to end. The two of them held each other for the longest time—Michael mumbling through tears what a fucking idiot Gavin was—but when they finally separated, it had seemed way too short. At that moment, they felt like they were on the top of the world and nothing could ruin it.
"So when did I come into the picture?" Jackson said softly, finding it hard to keep himself composed, while his dad was so broken down and vulnerable. It hurt worse thinking they hadn't even gotten to the worst part.
Michael wiped his eyes with his sleeve, pulling himself back together from the memories, "It was in the last few years that RoosterTeeth was still around. Gavin and I had been partners for about 2 ½ years at that point, and he wouldn't shut up about wanting to have a kid. I was against it, because growing up with my brothers was awful enough. He was insistent though, and I knew I'd have to give in sooner or later. The problem with that was that adoption agencies are money-hungry and I wasn't gonna take care of some stranger's baby. Lindsay and I had been close friends, so I told her about our dilemma, and she volunteered to be a surrogate mother. Gavin was thrilled with the idea, so we set it up. When Gavin first held you, I knew he was gonna spoil you rotten…"
"Are you sure you're okay, Linds?" Michael asked to his good friend, who was lying in a hospital bed next to him.
She shrugged, her hair sticking to her sweaty face, "Yeah I'm tired and a little sore, but as long as you two are happy, then it's all worth it in the end. To be honest, I'm just glad that it's over. The important question is: how are you?"
He bit his lip, thinking about it even though he already knew the answer, "I'm kind of nervous. What if I turn out to be a shitty parent?"
Lindsay gave him her signature glare, "Michael Jones, I just had a kid for you, I know you aren't deciding to bail out on me now."
They both laughed and continued on in their conversation, when suddenly Gavin comes running in the room, "MICHAEL! MICHAEL!"
A big grin spread across the brit's face, "We can go see him, now."
Michael turned back to Lindsay, silently asking if it was okay. She rolled her eyes, "Go meet your son, you douchebag."
With a smile that could rival his partner's, Michael followed Gavin down the hall, until they reached a big window that showcased a room full of newborns. The nurse saw them and nodded, quickly going over to one baby in particular. She picked him up and motioned for the two to come in.
Pulling Michael behind him, Gavin was first in line to see his son. The nurse smiled, a knowing look in her eyes, as she handed off the pink bundle into Gavin's tanned arms, "Look at 'im, Michael."
It was only the second time Michael had seen Gavin cry, the other time when he proposed to him, "He's amazing, Gavin. You finally did something right for a change." He said with a smile, watching the infant sleep soundly.
"I can't wait to teach him stuff." Gavin raved on the drive home from the hospital, "He's gonna learn how to use a slow-motion camera, he'll play video games, and-"
"Gavin." Michael interrupted, trying to keep his eyes on the road while talking, "Let's get him home in one piece first."
"Do you think I'm a terrible thing, dad?"
Michael looked up from his storytelling reverie and saw his son, cheeks stained with tears. He motioned to sit next to him on the couch. As soon as Jackson sat down, Michael put his arm around him and rubbed his arm reassuringly, "You will never be a terrible thing. You were one of the best things to ever happen to me. Nothing is gonna change that. Consider this a warning for you."
Jackson looked up into his father's watery eyes with his own, "A warning… for what?"
Leaning his curly haired head against his son's identical one, Michael looked ahead and sighed, "Love."
"Welcome home, love." A kiss was planted on the cheek of the European man, "How was work?"
Michael sat his stuff down and groaned, "Awful. I miss working at RoosterTeeth." He grabbed two beers from the fridge, "Where's Jackson?"
"He's taking a nap. You know Burnie and the rest of them couldn't keep it running forever. Over 20 years in production is a huge feat in itself." Gavin pointed out as he took the beer Michael had offered.
Settling down on the couch next to his lover, Michael opened his beer and took a sip before speaking again, "Enough about that, how are you feelin'?" He looked Gavin in the eye because he knew the brit couldn't lie while looking at him.
Gavin tried to adjust his position on the couch to get more comfortable, and to get free from Michael's gaze, "I'm feeling better, really. I think the headaches are going away actually."
"Babe, I watched you faint this morning and broke a glass. You need to see a doctor, now." The younger man said as he took Gavin's beer bottle with him, "And that's the last beer you're having until you start really feeling better."
"But Michael, I hate the doctor!"
"I'm making you an appointment tomorrow and that's final."
The next day, Michael drove Gavin to his doctor's appointment, even though Gavin insisted he was starting to feel better. Right after that, he stumbled going down the porch stairs.
Sitting in the waiting room was hard enough, because it was such a drab atmosphere, with crying family members and people knocked out on pain meds. Finally they got seen.
Gavin had to get a physical, urine sample, blood sample, and after that they suggested a CT scan. Playing the waiting game once again, Michael held Gavin's hand, stroking his thumb against the back of his hand, as they watched the door open and the doctor with a very grave look on his face.
"Mr. Free-Jones, there is no easy way to say this… there is a malignant tumor on your brain. We are guessing it's manifested itself there after some head trauma you experienced in your youth. There are many probable causes -"
"Yeah we got it, thanks." Michael interrupted, his heart already in his throat. He felt the grip on his hand tighten significantly. Gavin looked directly at the man in front of him, a determined look on his face, "How long do I have?"
The doctor removed his glasses to massage the bridge of his nose, "Considering how much it has spread, I'd say two weeks at the most, with the right medication. I'm afraid I'm going to have to admit you to the hospital immediately. I'm truly very sorry for this. Mr. Jones, I'm afraid you'll have to leave the room for a moment so I can have a word with the Mr. Free-Jones alone."
Michael kept a brave face in front of the doctor, but on the inside he was shattered to pieces. He looked up at his boy, those gorgeous eyes exchanging the same look. He could tell Gavin was doing the same exact thing. Almost robotically, Gavin nodded in response to what the doctor was saying. Michael got up and started slowly walking away, his hand never letting go of Gavin's until absolutely necessary. He couldn't even resist one more fleeting look at the man he loved, as he was about to be told in detail how and why he was dying.
As soon as the doctor shut the door behind him, gravity pulled Michael down to the floor in a fit of tears. All these questions started swirling around in his head: What about Jackson? How were they going to tell him? What about Gavin's parents? This was all happening so fast, he could barely even comprehend if this was a dream or reality. He prayed to whatever god that was listening for it to be the former.
Soon enough, Gavin emerged from the room, looking stoic and cold. Before Michael could say anything, Gavin knelt down in front of Michael and took his partner's hands in his, "Now you listen to me, and you listen good okay?"
Seeing the seriousness that shone in those green eyes, Michael nodded, holding back tears. Gavin continued, "They are going to take me to the hospital now and run some more tests." A lone tear ran down his cheek, "I want you to go home, fix dinner for Jackson, and go to bed. Just let him know that I won't be home for a while."
It was at that moment, that Michael's tears of sadness, instinctively turned into tears of rage, "'Awhile'? Gavin, you aren't going to be home again FOREVER. Are you not fazed by this at all? You are DYING, Gavin! By this time next month, they said you won't be here anymore! Does that not concern you as much as it concerns me?!"
"Of course I'm concerned—I'M BLOODY TERRIFIED! I woke up this morning with every intention to live my life as normal as yesterday, only for man with a degree to tell me that whatever normal life I've had is long gone." Gavin grabbed Michael's shoulders tightly and looked at him with tears brewing, "THAT is why I need you to be strong, for both of us. You need to be there for our son, do you understand me? Do not let this ruin your life. You will go on without me, and live your life to the fullest, just like you have with me. We've got two weeks, so let's make use of the time we have left, as if we had a million more two weeks to spare."
"That was the most serious I had ever seen your father. I could always count on him to make light of any situation, but even he knew that there was no light at the end of this tunnel." Michael spoke with a mix of sadness and jest, "He was a fighter, that's for damn sure. But that was another terrible thing, because all it did was make it harder for me to watch him get worse."
Michael walked into the hospital room 229. It was day 6 of Gavin being in the hospital and by far the one Michael would never forget, because it was when he first saw his beloved Gavin start withering away.
The first thing that caught his eye behind those glasses was the pile of bloody tissues on the side table, discarded from coughing fits, "You've been coughing more?"
A harsh clearing of the throat, "Yeah but not by much." Gavin smiled, trying to being optimistic, as he fiddled with the oxygen tube in his nose, "The nurses swear that I'm actually getting better!"
Michael sat down in the chair right next to the bed. As the brit babbled on, he took in how the sick man looked. At a quick glance, he seemed fine, but when you really looked, it was a different story. It was obvious that he had gotten thinner, his eyes looked sunken from loss of sleep, and his hair seemed brittle almost. It was almost too much for Michael to take.
On day 10, it got even worse.
"How's that boy? You know the one that lives with us?" Gavin chirped, seeing nothing wrong with his question.
That tone he used made Michael's blood run cold more than the question itself, "You mean our son, Jackson?"
Confused, Gavin cocked his head, "We have a son?" He stared blankly forward, as if his brain was trying to find some encrypted information, "Oh wait, I remember! Yeah Jackson, how old is he now, like 6?"
A brief sigh, "He's turning three in two months."
"Well we need to get on with the planning! We'll have to invite his friends and have a big party! All the Achievement Hunter guys can come too! I want to make the cake this time!"
Michael's heart turned violently inside his chest. He couldn't bring himself to tell Gavin that the Achievement Hunter was over and the guys were living their own lives somewhere else now. It hurt even more to know that somehow, they would have to celebrate without him.
It eventually got to the point where Gavin even thought Michael was a stranger, and would call for a nurse, who regretfully escorted Michael out of the room.
"The tumor has spread and almost completely wiped out his memory, I'm afraid." The nurse spoke in a grave tone.
Michael nodded in understanding, "How much longer do you think he has?"
The nurse paused for a moment, "He's been in the hospital for a week and a half, so probably within the next few days. I hope you will be able to say your goodbyes."
"Yeah, me too."
Two days later, Michael was sitting in the living room playing with Jackson, who constantly asked where papa was. Michael never had the heart to tell him, because he knew the child wouldn't understand it fully until much later in life.
Suddenly, his cellphone went off in his pocket. As he pulled it out, he saw it was the number for the hospital.
[Is this Michael Jones?]
"Yes. Is Gavin okay?" Michael asked, his heart pounding at the thought of what the answer might be.
[Well… we think he's only got a few more hours left. But he's asked for you specifically, and he wants you to bring 'the little sausage', whoever that is.]
Tears began to well up in hazel eyes as he remembered how Gavin called Jackson his little sausage when he was still a newborn, "Thank you so much. We'll be there soon."
The drive to the hospital seemed longer than usual. Once they got there, he unbuckled Jackson from the car seat in the back, raced through the automatic doors and up to the reception desk.
There was a woman there that he hadn't seen before. She looked up at him, "Yes sir can I help you?"
"Yes, my name is Michael Jones and I'm here to see Gavin Free-Jones, he's in room 229." Michael rambled off quickly, having said it many times before.
"Relation to patient?"
That was a question he hadn't been asked before, but he decided to answer it anyway, "He's my partner."
A glaring look came from across the desk that sent shivers down his spine. The woman suddenly got very cold, "I'm sorry but we only let family in after visiting hours. I'm afraid you'll have to come back tomorrow."
Michael's eyes widened at the statement, "Tomorrow?! He's gonna be dead by tomorrow!"
At that point, Jackson started to whimper a little. The receptionist didn't budge, "I'm sorry sir, but the rules state that-"
"SCREW YOUR RULES, THE LOVE OF MY LIFE IS IN THERE ABOUT TO BREATHE HIS LAST BREATH ANY MINUTE AND I NEED TO GET IN THERE NOW!" Michael yelled, his old Rage Quit roots starting to show.
"Sir if you do not calm down, I'm afraid I'll have to call the police."
Jackson let out a cry right as Michael slammed his fist down on the desk, "Bullshit! Ask any of the staff here, they've all seen me before! This is discrimination!"
"Sir, you are disrupting the peace of this hospital and I'm going to call the police." She spoke, her words laced with disgust.
With his son still in his arms, Michael shouted down the hallways, "HELP! ANYBODY! PLEASE!" He started banging on walls, tears of frustration rolling down his cheeks, "This can't be happening… not like this."
"He's fine, he's with me."
A voice came out of nowhere, as Michael whipped his head around to see the nurse from the other day, "He can go on through." She sent a disapproving look to the receptionist, who was stunned at the turn of events.
As quickly as they could, they rushed to Gavin's room. When Michael walked in, his now quiet son in hand, he saw how awful his lover had become in the past several days he had been unable to see him.
Face sunken in, hair thinner than a thread, muscles nonexistent after lack of use, and the dull, faded eyes that used to be so jovial and full of life. That was the man that was laying in the bed that Michael's happy go lucky Gavin first laid in less than two weeks earlier.
The faded eyes lightened ever so slightly when they saw who had walked in, "M-Michael?"
Michael sat on the bed, resting Jackson on his lap, "Yeah, it's me."
Gavin gave a weak smile when he saw the toddler, "You brought my little sausage."
"You know I can't say no to you, Gavin." Michael placed his strong hand on Gavin's frail, bony one.
"They say I'm gonna die soon."
Blinking back tears, he nodded, "Yeah…"
Jackson looked up at Gavin and reached out to him, "Papa?"
Gavin gasped and almost choked, "He… he remembers me?"
"Remembers you? He wouldn't stop asking where you were." Michael joked lightly, as he helped Jackson lay next to Gavin. Jackson wrapped onto one of his father's brittle arms and sighed happily.
Michael and Gavin noticed this and smiled, but the smile quickly faded as they looked at each other. Gavin suddenly got very grave, "Michael, I don't have much time left, I can feel it. Jackson… I don't want him to see me… when I go."
Nodding, Michael leaned over to his son, "Hey Jackson, why don't you close your eyes and take a nap okay?" Jackson nodded as well and did as he was told.
Then it was just the two of them.
Getting on the other side of his partner, Michael wrapped his arm around him and they sat like that for a moment, watching their son be so at peace. Gavin turned to look up at Michael, but was met with his lips instead. They hadn't really gotten to do anything like this since he had been hospitalized. Gavin's lips were chapped and his mouth reeked of medication, but Michael knew that this wasn't going to last long, and he wanted to make it count. As he pulled away, Gavin looked up at him, the most life in his eyes that he had seen in a long time.
"I love you, Michael."
"I love you too, Gavin."
"Take care of our son."
They stayed like that for a moment or two before Gavin tensed up, his eyes going wide. It was enough to wake Jackson up. Michael pulled his son away and made him look the other way, as he himself was forced to watch as his love had a seizure before taking his last breath.
Looking at Gavin's now lifeless eyes, Michael knew he couldn't bear to leave him like that, so he gently closed them. He set his son down and offered his hand to him, "C'mon Jackson, it's… time to go home."
"But what about papa?"
Michael noticed the toddler staring back at his unmoving father, "Papa can't come with us."
The two year old's face fell, "Why not?"
His entire being burning, Michael could tell his son knew something was off, "He can't because… he's in a better place now."
Jackson ran over to Gavin's body and started to pull on the bedsheet, "Papa come on, we have to go home."
Trying to stay strong for his son, Michael picked him up and led him out of the room, his heart aching as he heard him crying to go back and get Gavin. It was almost too much, even for him.
The funeral was held in Gavin's hometown of Oxfordshire. They made it closed casket for all those that were not close family, due to how Gavin's failing health made his appearance look. Much to Michael's surprise, a bunch of people from RoosterTeeth showed up, including: the Ramseys, Burnie and his wife, Ray and Courtney, and even Gus and his wife. They all gave their condolences to Michael and the rest of Gavin's family. Dan was there too with his wife. Gavin always said no one would ever come to his funeral. Michael was happy that Gavin was wrong.
"So that's the story." Michael said, getting up to throw away a huge pile of used tissues into the trashcan, "After the funeral, we moved here, where three weeks later we celebrated your third birthday."
Jackson looked at the picture that had brought up the whole thing, smiling a little at how happy his parents looked back then, "It seems like you really did love each other."
Michael sat back down next to him, "The other reason I'm telling you this is that life can do terrible things. One day you'll learn that, but I hope and pray to whatever god is listening, that your life will turn out differently. I couldn't bear to see the same happen to you. My advice would be to just not fall in love at all. There's just too much to lose."
The teen watched his dad get up and walk towards the kitchen, "Do you regret meeting him, dad?"
Stopping in his tracks, Michael turned and spoke without hesitation, "No, he was the greatest thing that ever happened to me."