I’ve been headcanoning up a storm lately, and I’ve been wanting to post more things on my blog here. So- have some barely edited AUs that probably won’t get fics anytime soon, but are great ideas nonetheless. If anyone wants to add on/chime in/create something, feel free.
This takes notes from my brief memories of playing GTA when I was too young to play GTA- driving around sleazy Vice City looking for a motorcycle to try to jump something and then end up wrecking it before I got there (rinse repeat).
Also reflects my current desire for an endless vacation. If only, right?
I don’t know what to title this as. But the AU below started with one random thought: former child celebrity Sips.
cw: drinking, nsfw because strip clubs? if I need to tag something, let me know.
“I can’t believe you had hair.”
Ross and Sips watching old movies of teen Sips. Teen Sips with a wavy mop of hair plastered like a wet cat to the top of his head, and the mother of all porno staches.
“I was going for a Freddie Mercury look.”
“If Freddie Mercury had a porn star twin, sure.”
Sips is a long-since-retired B-list celebrity, former child/teen actor, who runs into Ross, an aspiring filmmaker, in a supermarket (Publix). Ross actually recognizes him from a shitty movie. Sips is shocked.
“I haven’t gotten recognized since I was 18 and had a full head of hair.” He says, adjusting his hat on his balding middle-aged head. pushing a shopping cart full of food while wearing pajama pants, slippers, and a faded band t-shirt.
Ross has to film something to accompany his final year thesis for college, and during his summer he takes care of Sips’ pool in exchange for spurious showbiz wisdom.
Taking place in the weird and wacky Orlando, Florida. Complete with Sips and Ross going putt-putt mini-golfing on a cloudy day. Windbreakers swishing quietly from their arms rubbing together. Sips wearing beaten up white sneakers, stained green from mowing his lawn in them all the time.
By the end of the game, it starts drizzling. Sips and Ross take up their putters to the counter and hop into Sips’ old dirt-colored station wagon as it turns from a drizzle into a downpour.
(Sips’ car is a Dodge Monaco from the 70s, like Ross has seen in his grandparents old camping magazines)
“Fucking rain in this place, shit.” Sips curses. buckling his seat belt and starting the car. The A/C kicks in immediately, and Ross shudders from the chill. rubbing his bare knees. goosebumps raising the hair on his legs.
Sips cranks the dial to heat instead, and flips on the radio. smells like burnt plastic after not using the heater all summer. squeak of windshield wipers and the slushing of rain as Sips drives.
“You hungry?” He asks, glancing over at Ross as the younger man unzips the backpack wedged between his knees.
“Nah, whatever.” Ross replies. He takes his camera out and powers it on with a quiet chime, immediately aiming the lens toward the rain spattering the passenger side window.
“Yes or no, Ross, sheesh. Did you eat already?”
“Why are you always so damned concerned whether I eat or not?” Ross grumbles. He steadies the camera in his hands as Sips guides the car into a turn.
“We’re getting fucking burgers, then.” Sips replies with a sigh. “And I don’t want to hear a damned complaint out of you this time.”
Ross smiles, watching the neon lights of shops blur as they drive past. The rain makes everything mellowed and hazy.
By the time they get to the burger stand, an old retro root beer drive in, the rain has stopped completely. Ross puts the camera away after getting footage of him wiping the condensation off the window with his hand, and the water dripping off the overhang of the drive in. The sun’s still hidden behind clouds. Sips rolls down the windows and inhales deeply. The smell of petrichor wafts up from the asphalt.
“Gonna be muggy as fucking hell tonight.” He comments to Ross as he turns off the engine. The car heaves out a exasperated sigh.
(Sips totally has a hula girl bobble head thing on the dash. “Tropical breeze” air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror.)
Overhead, the drive-in speakers play oldies tunes. Sips leans his arm on the window sill and peers at the menu board. “Whattaya want to eat, Ross?”
“Double bacon cheeseburger with extra pickle, curly fries, and a root beer.”
“Someone must be hungry then.” Sips tuts. “You planning on paying for that yourself?”
Ross grins at the back of Sips’ head. “That’s so nice of you to offer to buy me food, Sips. You’re too kind.”
“Damn right I am. Fucking freeloader.” Sips sighs in mock aggravation. There’s a smile curling up the corners of his mouth as he leans over in his seat to press the call button.
Palm trees, flamingos, lemon trees in Sips’ backyard. Ross and Sips picking lemons one afternoon.
Ross getting dragged out to a purple-pink neon strip club by his old high school friends who are in town. sitting at the bar, sort of having a shitty time because hanging out with his old friends isn’t like it used to be.
Sips sits down at the bar with him and orders a drink. “Tequila Sunrise, and another one of whatever this one’s drinking.”
Ross does a double take. “What the fuck are you doing here?” He exclaims.
“What, a man can’t appreciate talented dancers?”
Ross blushes and stutters.
Sips laughs and thanks the barman as he delivers their drinks. He detaches the cherry off the orange on the side of his glass, and slides it off the end of the toothpick with his teeth.
“Some old high school friends of mine dragged me here.” Ross clarifies, “They’re-” He looks over his shoulder and catches his one of his buddies with a girl, with said girl giving him a lap dance.
Ross turns back to the bar, feeling his cheeks turn pink. “Otherwise preoccupied. I don’t normally come here or anything.”
Sips chews the cherry slowly and looks at Ross with an amused smile. “Is that so?”
“That is so! I don’t usually- I mean- it’s just-” indignant
“Relax, I’m just giving you a hard time for the hell of it.” Sips laughs and pushes Ross’ shoulder playfully. “You need to lighten up, kid.”
Ross frowns and looks away, taking a drink of his gin and tonic instead of speaking. “What the fuck are you doing here anyway?” He grumbles mostly to his glass instead of the man next to him.
Sips and Ross driving down to Miami, or Fort Lauderdale, or the Florida Keys for a mid-summer vacation. Sips probably has a little summer rental house on a stretch of beach somewhere.
The two of them walking along the beach, Ross getting footage of the waves. Setting up the camera to get a timelapse of the sunset. He and Sips collecting shells when the tide goes out (after Sips insists).
“But you’re not supposed to collect the wildlife.”
((seriously, don’t collect the wildlife))
“Gee, I didn’t know calcium silica had sentience.”
“Sand dollars are animals. They’re echinoderms, same as starfish are.”
“How do you know?”
“My dad’s a marine biologist. I grew up clambering around tidal pools for fun.”
“Well, the tide’s gone out, so they’re probably dead as shit.” Sips hums and picks up another shell, checking to make sure it’s empty.
“You’re murdering the fucking ecosystem, Sips.” Ross informs as the other man drops another shell into his plastic bucket. (Ross isn’t building a sandcastle, no matter how much Sips insists on that, too. He’s 23, for fucks sake. How weird would that be, to build sandcastles with his middle aged friend. Friend? He guesses that’s what they are. Sort of hard to tell sometimes…)
((“Come on Ross, you can’t go to the beach and not build a sandcastle. It’s like a crime against beach bum code.” “Beach bum code?” “Yeah, all those lazy sunbathers’ll write you up for being a boring piece of shit.” “Fuck you, Sips.”))
“Look, Ross, the only people who ever occupy this stretch of beach are me and an old couple in the winter, and I know for a fact they don’t drag their walkers across the beach just to collect sea shells.” Sips gestures to the sand before them. “There’s enough here, that us collecting some for you to make a fucking windchime isn’t going to do much in the big scale of things. Stop worrying about the big picture and just let yourself live.”
“I’m not making a fucking windchime.”
“Stop shoving sand down your a pants, Cranky Cathy, and have fun.”
“I thought it was Chatty Cathy.”
“Crabby Carl, then. Whatever. This is a vacation! Act like it!”
Ross grumbles as he follows Sips down the beach. “Feels like an intervention, actually.”
Sips is older, but acts like he’s young. Ross is younger, but acts like he’s old. Hung up on what he thinks he should be doing with his life, burying himself in editing towards the end of his summer. Sips picking him up and dragging him out of his empty childhood home (Ross’ dad works all the time in the summers, and he’s a single parent) for a walk around his neighborhood, stopping to get ice cream from a van going past. Sitting in a park, watching the kids run around.
Sips teaching Ross it’s okay to be an adult, but you don’t have to take responsibility for everything- the world is big and you can’t control every aspect of it. Ross grew up too fast, made himself be the responsible one, the dependable one, because no one was going to help him but himself. Feels like he can’t be young and carefree because there are too many people who do that already, and he has to be the opposite. Subconsciously thinks there’s something wrong with him if he falls into the stereotype of “carefree and reckless young adult” because people will judge him for it, and he doesn’t want to be seen as something he’s not.
“Who the fuck says you have to be an old curmudgeonly bastard when you’re 23?” Sips asks him in exasperation.
Ross doesn’t have a response for that. Shrugs and continues digging a hole in the sand with his tennis shoes under the seat of the swing-set he’s sitting on. The popsicle stick from his ice cream is sticking between his fingertips.
“Responsibility is important, don’t get me wrong. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It doesn’t mean you can’t act childish every one in a while. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with letting other people worry about the world for a while. There’s almost 8 billion people on the planet, Ross. I think you can let somebody else take up the job.
“If you live your life never taking a chance, you’re going to regret all the missed opportunities you had.”
Ross scoffs. “People tell me that all the time, ‘you’re going to regret not doing this’, and they’ve been wrong.”
“So there’s nothing you regret not doing?”
“I didn’t say that.” Ross frowns. “I’d be lying if I did. Regretting things is a part of life, though. Everyone does it.”
“Yeah. But you shouldn’t regret how you live.”
Ross says nothing. squints in the sunlight
Sips sighs. “Listen, Ross. There’s nothing wrong with taking a chance.”
“And what if it goes wrong?”
“Then it goes wrong. But you don’t know that for certain. Sure, sometimes you’re going to take a chance, and it’ll be the wrong one. Everyone makes mistakes. and there’s nothing wrong with that. You fail, you fuck up, you move on. Life was never made to be perfect, and striving for it only sets you up to be disappointed. You have to find satisfaction in the small as well as the big accomplishments. You have to see the positive in the negative, and take each day as it comes.
“It’s not easy…but that’s life. It’s a process. No one says you have to be strong all the time. It’s okay to be weak. There’s strength in that, that you’re willing to admit you’re not okay sometimes. It’s okay to be vulnerable.”
“You’re sure you’re not a secret psychologist or something?” Ross says at last.
Sips laughs. “Nah. Just an old bastard who didn’t want to be curmudgeonly asshole.”
“I’m not an asshole.” Ross mumbles.
“Not yet you aren’t.”
Ross rolls his eyes. “So you believe that crap all the time? All that shit about being vulnerable and taking chances?”
“Nope. It takes work to remind yourself you don’t have to stress over everything. Nobody believes that 100% of the time. Everyone gets doubts, Ross. Sometimes it does get easier.”
Ross’ final thesis paper/short documentary ends up being a twist on a coming of age story. Relates a lot of his footage to his feelings upon graduating college and going off into the world. Voices over some parts with narrative commentary about what life is supposed to be. Fourth-walling almost.
Submits his documentary to a film festival that spring. Sitting in his bedroom on spring break, staring at Sips’ number on a piece of paper. calls him up. Sips is watering his plants in the backyard. Ross asks if he wants to go see the festival. Sips agrees. “We’ll make a trip out of it. How you been? Haven’t heard from you since summer, Ross. How’s life been treating you?”
At first Ross is hesitant, feels awkward about the gap of time he didn’t talk to Sips. Either he was busy, or he felt it would be too weird to call him up late at night while he was sitting in his college apartment. But talking to Sips again is easy, and once he starts they talk late into the night. joking, laughing. Hearing about Sips’ new neighbors who have dogs. “You know, they go on vacation out west in the summer. I could score you a summer job taking care of the dogs, if you’d like.”
“I’d love that.” Ross smiles. “I’m going to be applying around for things, but having some extra cash would be great.” The sun has set, orange and dark pink light through the blinds of his bedroom window. He’s sitting in the dark now, and he looks at the clock. “Shit, it’s late. Sorry for talking so long.”
“Nah, that’s alright. It’s good to hear from you. Have you eaten dinner yet?”
Ross’ stomach growls. He’s glad Sips can’t see his embarrassed smile though the phone. He’d talked right through dinnertime. “No, I haven’t, actually.”
“Late night Taco Bell run, then? I’m starving.”
“Yeah. Sounds great.”
“Fantastic. See you in fifteen.”
Ross hangs up with a smile. He runs a hand through his hair and stands up. He grabs his jacket from the back of the door as he leaves the room.
shitty former celebrity au