Michael is good with his mouth.
It's a hard thing to miss, what with the way it's constantly in use. Michael swears like he breathes and the things that come out of his mouth could make a sailor blush. Gavin would admit to being taken aback a bit when they first met; it's just that Michael was so loud all the bloody time, where Gavin was more used to stagnant silence.
But they learn, more easily than Gavin had expected; with the other guys, (even Geoff on his worse days), clear communication is a thing that is strived for; with Michael it's as easy as giving him a look, a vague wave of his hand, and Michael's in his head, answering questions he hadn't even really thought to ask.
So when Gavin moves from his station in the maintenance & crew department to a new desk in the Achievement Hunter office, it's not really any mystery why he chooses a seat next to Michael's; not really a surprise when he starts hanging out with Michael outside of work, starts following him around like an overeager puppy, while Michael shouts and throws things in half-assed fits of rage while the rest of the guys roll their eyes and make fake-gagging noises in the background.
They all learn, eventually, Jack with his pocketbook of ASL for Dummies, Ray with his overeager agreeableness, and Geoff with years of experience under his belt already; they learn and Gavin finds a bit of family in all of them, but Michael--
Michael is something different, something closer and more important, something Gavin doesn't want to examine too closely, not yet.
It's not so much a language barrier as it is a stupid barrier.
Most everyone in the Achievement Hunter office had learned how to understand Gavin early on, how to decode his faux-speak, or at the very least smile and nod when he started bouncing on his heels and waving his arms about like a madman.
Ryan was new though, and therefore unused to the odd translation of Gavin's thoughts from his brain to his hands. He'd stumble through conversations thoroughly bewildered, while Gavin obliviously prattled on, expecting, in that logical way of his, that everyone would just somehow understand what he was trying to convey.
It's late afternoon, a Friday, and Gavin is on about some new idea for a video he's had. He wants Ryan's help for it, that much is clear, but Ryan can't figure out for the life of him what he wants help with.
The rest of the guys are packing up, getting ready for a long weekend, and he doesn't want to be rude, ask Gavin for the millionth time exactly what that twirly thing with his forefingers means, so he finds himself nodding along instead, shooting nearing-desperate looks at his unhelpful as shit coworkers.
Gavin sighs huffily, obviously miffed that Ryan isn't getting what he's very clearly telling him, and starts fidgeting, trying to remember where he put his phone so he can just type it out instead.
It's then that Michael walks in, hands stuffed in his pockets. He passes between them to get to his desk, but stops to eye both of them for a moment. "What?" he asks Gavin, all slight (fond) irritation, and Gavin shrugs, signs something small and not nearly slow enough for Ryan to understand at all.
Michael turns to Ryan, with his distraught, pleading eyes, huffs out a small laugh, and goes to his desk.
"He wants your help with the next Minecraft Things to Do," he says, not even looking up from what he's doing at his computer. "You know about redstone or some shit, and Gavin's too much of an asshole to just google it like any normal idiot would."
Ryan looks at Gavin for confirmation, sees him downright beaming over at Michael, nodding like that's exactly what he was trying to say.
"O-oh, yeah, of course, man," Ryan mutters, embarrassed and kind of in awe. Gavin signs something else, still smiling over at Michael, who still doesn't look over as he goes on. "Yeah, he says thanks. And next time just use your fucking phone, asshole."
"Yeah, anytime," Ryan answers, and goes back to his temporary desk, still a little chagrined, a bit dazed.
But Gavin stays where he is for a moment, watches Michael click around his desktop, his eyes glued to the screen.
He walks over, signs something against his shoulder, fingertips just grazing the fabric of his shirt. Michael doesn't turn, doesn't really acknowledge him, other than to reach back and flick him on the wrist.
Gavin can't really help his grin then, and he goes back to his own desk with a tightness in his chest he's slowly starting to recognize as familiar.
They're filming a Let's Play.
It's been a couple of weeks since Geoff asked if Gavin wanted to join in. At first Gavin had felt awkward about it; their job as players was literally to talk to the audience in completely verbal way, and so it was with weary hesitation that he agreed to at least try it.
But the audience had surprisingly loved it, loved him, the way he would quietly sneak up on the others, pull idiot moves and get yelled at by everyone in the process, snorting soft breathy laughter into his near-useless microphone all the while.
Today's is nearly over, two hours into the recording already, and Gavin has a bucket of lava he's been waiting all goddamn day to use.
He's giggling in that throaty way he does, and Michael looks over, sees Gavin's planned dick move a moment before he follows through on it, and Michael scoots his seat closer to better see the action.
Sudden bursts of profanity echo from Geoff and Jack's side of the room, and Michael and Gavin fall all over themselves laughing. Michael's laugh is loud and coarse, and Gavin drops his head onto Michael's shoulder, snorting into the soft material of his old worn t-shirt.
Eventually Michael moves back to his own desk, to protect himself and Gavin from an onslaught of diamond swords and vindicated attacks.
"You fucking jackasses," Jack mutters when he inevitably dies, and said jackasses fall into uncontrollable laughter again.
Gavin looks over and catches Michael looking back, matching grin in place, and they smile dumbly at each for a moment before Michael looks back to his screen, still snickering to himself.
Gavin watches Michael laugh for a moment more, eyes crinkled, not a damn care in the whole bloody world, thinks how he could listen to the sound for hours, how he would love to have Michael look at him like that for the rest of his life and he thinks--
Michael has his back turned still, and Gavin looks away, heartbeat in his throat, and swallows hard down on nothing.
Gavin is good with his hands.
Michael doesn't so much notice this, any more than he does the way the color on the walls of the office have faded two shades fainter since they moved in, or that the weather was three degrees cooler on Saturday than it was on Friday. Gavin is an alright sign linguist and Ray is pretty good at video games.
It's a strange sort of sixth sense, he supposes, being able to decode all of Gavin's strange hand gestures without blinking an eye, and sometimes it hits him that he's kind of lucky to have found a best friend who doesn't mind that his communication skills are kind of shit too. It's a weird kind of connection, but it works for them, and it works goddamn well, most of the time.
That being said, Michael really fucking hates Gavin sometimes.
The problem is really that Geoff is an asshole.
Geoff is an asshole and so Michael is stuck filming yet another goddamn Rage Quit with none other than Gavin fucking Free.
It wouldn't be as bad if everyone else in the office hadn't quickly learned that whenever Gavin and Michael had to work together, it was a fucking event to be seen.
As it was, less than half of the damn thing was Michael actually yelling at Gavin for being a moron like he was supposed to. The majority, however, was spent with the pair giggling at each other like idiots, Geoff, Jack, and Ray trading the responsibility of coughing subtly enough to not be picked up by the audio, but loud enough for Michael to notice and remember to at least pretend to be angry.
They're almost done filming, fucking finally, and Gavin is doing something predictably stupid on screen. Michael is tempted to yell, or hit him, or something, something just stupid and ridiculous enough to get them views, but when he looks over, Gavin is grinning like an idiot back at him, and Michael can't really help the laughter that comes out instead.
Gavin's smile goes just a bit wider at that, his eyes just the slightest bit brighter, and Michael is kind of struck by how soft the look on his face is, how proud he looks to have done something as mundane and commonplace as making Michael laugh.
It's only another thirty seconds before Gavin does something moronic again, losing them the game, that has Michael back to swearing and threatening Gavin bodily harm, and the moment is lost; but there's something warm and uncomfortably gentle pushing against the edge of Michael's thoughts for the rest of the day, something that makes his chest ache as he falls asleep that night, something he's choosing to ignore, for now.
Gavin, despite an apparent lack of vocal ability, is one of the loudest people Michael knows.
He's all grand, sweeping gestures and ridiculous facial expressions, all loud enthusiasm and easy smiles, with an outgoing personality to match. Sometimes it's difficult to remember that Gavin is the one who can't speak, that not everyone can understand all of his made up words and improvised language like it was their native tongue.
They're out at dinner on a Friday night, most everyone from the Achievement Hunter office, treating themselves to a fairly decent place for getting through another long week at work.
Michael has Gavin sitting to his left, Ray on his right, with Geoff and Griffon across from them, Geoff somehow already on his third beer despite having only arrived less than ten minutes before.
Their waitress arrives fairly quickly, looking wary of their loud, disruptive group, all obnoxious banter and shouting at one another across the table like fucking five-year-olds.
Michael is vaguely aware of Gavin telling Geoff what he wants to order somewhere off to his left, pointing at the menu and trying to tell him how he wants his steak, but Griffon is asking him something, a question about one of his tattoos, he thinks, and he's too busy trying to hear her over Ray and Ryan's obnoxious arguing to pay much attention to Gavin's frustration.
Ryan orders a salad, Ray gets an entire pizza for himself, and Michael puts in for a burger, orders beers for all of them. Griffon orders for herself and Geoff, but when the waitress turns to Gavin, he still looks bothered about something, weary after a long day at work, as Geoff starts to order for him.
"He'll have a steak, uh, medium-well? And a salad--"
Michael cuts him off with a dismissive wave of his hand, turns to the waitress himself and tells her, "A steak, rare, soup instead of the salad, and a coke without ice."
The waitress nods and writes his order down quickly before moving on to the next table and Michael goes back to telling Griffon about how much of a shithole the first parlor he had been to was.
But halfway through his next sentence, he notices a sudden warmth on his left knee. Sliding his gaze over to Gavin, he's greeted with a way too damn enthusiastic grin, and Gavin's hand squeezes his knee, a silent thank you played out over his features.
Michael huffs, reaches down and gives Gavin's hand a light squeeze in return (you're welcome, dipshit), and turns back to Griffon to finish his story.
He ignores the way Geoff gives him a knowing smirk before they leave at the end of the night, the slight flush to his own skin at Gavin's casually intimate touch, the small ache in the back of his chest the heat his palm leaves behind.
It's a Thursday, a slow day at the office, and Gavin won't shut up.
He's on about something Michael doesn't really give half a shit about, hands flying everywhere excitedly, despite the way Michael's only half paying attention anymore, more focused on getting the latest rage quit up in time so he could take his break already.
By the time Gavin relents enough to let Michael get some actual work done, it's past time for everyone's lunch breaks. The office is almost empty, save the two of them, and when Michael finally gets up to go to the break room, Gavin (unsurprisingly) follows him out.
They get there relatively without incident, and Michael sighs as Gavin starts up again, fidgeting around in the chair he's sat himself in, signing frustratedly at Michael's back.
"Yeah buddy I heard you, sounds really exciting and all, can't fucking wait for it to come out."
Michael's only really watching out of the corner of his eye, but it'd take more patience than he actually has to pay complete attention when the moron's this worked up. He eventually finds the coffee mug he'd been looking for, doesn't flinch when he turns around and Gavin is suddenly there, taking the cup out of his hands and setting it down behind him huffily.
He's back to signing again, words in quick succession, about the new Xbox launch, or what he had for breakfast that morning, Michael can't be sure at the moment, he keeps getting lost in the way Gavin goes slightly flushed when he's pleased about something, in the way he bites at his lip when he's focused, the way his eyes are stupidly green when he's this close.
"Gavin, shut the fuck up for a second," Michael says to no avail, wait but, Gavin's hands answer, and Michael is kind of dizzy with how fast they're moving, with the clumsy sort of prettiness they take on when they're moving quick and precise, in the way Gavin's eyes are lit up as he watches his fingers, the way he mouths along with some of the words half-mindedly, the way he just looks so unbearably happy--
Michael doesn't realize he's reached out and taken a hold of Gavin's hands until the movement is suddenly gone, replaced with abrupt stillness.
Gavin's fingers twitch under his own, and when he looks up Gavin has a look that loudly reads as Michael, you knob, I wasn't done yet; but then his eyes move up and catch on Michael's open mouth, on his softened gaze, and the annoyance is dropped, his eyelids lower a fraction of an inch, and he parts his own lips, like he's going to say something, which is ridiculous because.
It's unmeditated, a broken off movement forward, Michael jerking Gavin's hands up, tugging him close enough that their mouths crash together.
It fucking hurts, is the first thing Michael thinks. Gavin's teeth bump into Michael's upper lip, the angle is crooked and completely off, and Gavin isn't moving.
Michael yanks his head back with startling urgency, because Gavin wasn't kissing him back and what the fuck, when did his brain decide kissing Gavin would be a good idea anyway, and oh, he's still only centimeters from Gavin's face and his fucking stupidly soft mouth and, and Michael pulls back because he might be in goddamn motherfucking love with his asshole best friend and he might have just ruined everything, what kind of dumbass even does that kind of shit--
Gavin's eyes are wide and blown apart, breathing hard through his open mouth and he can see all of the stupid halfwit thoughts running through Michael's head just as easily as if he'd said them out loud and he would take a moment to enjoy his positively brilliant reaction except he wasn't finished yet--
Before Michael can form a coherent apology, Gavin's shaking off his grip (he hadn't remembered still holding onto his hands, but he's having trouble remembering a lot of things lately), and wrapping his own hands around the front of Michael's shirt.
"Gav--" is all he manages, before Gavin is pulling him in again. And this time Gavin is definitely fucking moving, his lips insistent against his own, and the rest of his name gets pressed into his mouth.
It takes Michael all of two seconds to respond in kind, Gavin's tongue is running across his lower lip and he shudders, raises his hands to grab his wrists, because goddamn if he's not a little fucking weak at the knees with the force of the kiss. Gavin doesn't let up, presses him back until his back hits the edge of the counter; Michael lets out a low noise that is definitely not a moan of any sort, thank you very fucking much, and Gavin giggles into his mouth.
Michael growls deep in his throat and Gavin breaks away because fuck if he isn't losing himself a bit in the way Michael's hands have moved up his arms to his back where he holds him steadfast against his own chest, if the way Michael kisses with no small amount of teeth, doesn't have his hands shaking a bit.
They stand apart for a short time, breathing a little bit wrecked, pupils huge and black, before Gavin works up the energy (and the courage, but, well) to let go of Michael's shirt and sign three words in rapid fire.
Michael blinks, looks up at Gavin's face. His heart is stutter-stopping in his chest and his palms are a little sweaty where they still rest just over the curve of Gavin's ass. He closes his eyes because it's too much sometimes, wanting and needing and getting all at once.
When he re-opens them Gavin has his lip tucked under his teeth in that annoying as fuck way he has, and he thinks exactly in that second that he is so very regrettably, irrevocably in love with the idiot standing in front of him.
He takes a moment, a deep enough breath to get him through at least the next five seconds, and leans forward just enough to bump his forehead gently against Gavin's. "Yeah, me too, of fucking course, asshole."
Gavin's answering smile is blindingly stupid and fucking ridiculous, and Michael wouldn't be able to stop himself from kissing it off if he wanted to.
Michael and Gavin are good with each other.
Michael is recording something, one of the million videos they're behind on probably, Gavin is hovering behind him with a frown on his face, and Ray is editing. Or well, he's supposed to be, at least.
Instead he's got one half of his headphones hooked behind one ear, and keeps sneaking glances at Gavin and Michael, trying to keep his snickering quiet enough that no one yells at him for not actually doing anything useful.
Michael is frustrated with something in his game as usual; the vein in his neck is bulging in that tell-tale way that means back the fuck off. Gavin stands behind him and watches for a moment, then uncrosses his arms and leans forward, hooks his chin over Michael's shoulder and rests his hands over Michael's.
Michael tries once to shake him off, but Gavin doesn't relent, his face focused as he tries to put Michael's fingers in the right positions with his own. Michael gives up fighting him eventually, reluctantly lets Gavin try to show him how to do whatever it is he's been trying and failing to do for the past ten minutes.
With a lot of grumbling on Michael's part and fond, if exasperated, smiles on Gavin's part, Michael figures it out, gets the achievement, and throws down his controller, muttering a "Fucking finally."
Gavin's still standing behind him, a satisfied smirk on his face, and Ray would laugh because there really isn't a more accurate portrayal, Michael fuming and Gavin looking smug, except.
Gavin tells Michael something, signs too fast and too sloppily for Ray to bother figuring out, and Michael's scowl deepens. Gavin goes back to his own chair, still turned to face Michael, and Michael's going on about something else now, telling Gavin to fuck off, but Gavin's smiling.
He spins his chair closer to Michael's, signs something again, and Michael's not even looking anymore, has gone back to angrily playing his game. Gavin shakes his head fondly, and bumps his shoulder with Michael's. Michael doesn't look at him but he slumps suddenly in his chair, the tension in his shoulders just instantly gone, and he mumbles a, "Yeah, you're right, whatever," and Ray thinks, huh.
Gavin goes back to his own desk after, and it's not fifteen minutes later that Michael's screaming at him again for some dumbshit reason, but.
Later, they're filming a let's play: Michael's ranting for the hundredth time of the hour, and no one's really paying attention to what he's saying anymore. Ray sees Gavin move away out of the corner of his eye and it's only a moment before Michael's gone oddly silent again, and Ray doesn't have to look over to know. Michael's a bit quieter during the rest of the game, a little more mellow than he would usually be when Jack kills him and wins right before the end.
Ray doesn't have to look over to know, but Gavin's smiling at his screen for no damn reason, and no one bothers questioning it when Michael pulls Gavin out of the office roughly a half hour before they're scheduled to be off.
Michael and Gavin are really kind of great for each other.