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one crack and the wall is breached

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Stringer likes pretty, expensive things.

Top-shelf alcohol, pretty women and sleek cars. It is never really apparent, Stringer isn’t flashy, but it’s also no secret. After Avon got out of prison he was greeted with Egypt cotton bed linen, which felt after months of prison blankets too smooth under his fingers. He wanted to change them, replace them with normal ones but he never came around to do it.

When they were younger Stringer tried to brush it off, in Baltimore there is a certain shame in wanting more than the city beliefs you are worth, but Avon would still catch him looking at shiny new sneakers and soft, warm cashmere pullovers that the rich downtown kids used to wear. And while Stringer would ball his fists and sneer at them, some kind of envy would still linger in his eyes.

Avon never really understood that- sure pretty things are nice, but there are other, far more important things, like say family (even though Stringer seems to forget that part more and more nowadays). Still it became a silent motivator to be able provide those things for Stringer even though he would never tell him that.

They got money now and part of Avon is satisfied, proud when he sees Stringer in silk ties and gold framed glasses, because shit that means they made it and that he can take care of his family. It also means more business and college courses and very little time and Avon misses Stringer, misses Russ. The one with too big t-shirts, dirty shoes (didn’t matter how much he tried to keep them clean) and smart ideas. Street-smart and not college-textbook-smart, which would never work in their part of the town, not on the corners, not in the pit.

The silent understanding between him and Stringer changed, they approach things differently now, a series of misunderstandings and sometimes fatally wrong communication and Avon doesn’t know when it happened. He wants it to turn back so badly, but to talk about it, to acknowledge that something changed would destroy what’s left of them and he can’t let that happen not now, not when they are finally moving away from petty turf wars and onto bigger things.

It’s not the only thing that changed, somewhere along the way Stringer started to look at him differently, another thing Avon doesn’t quite get. Late at night when they sit in Orlando’s tiny back room after they discussed business and his head dizzy with whiskey (the expensive one), he notices Stringers eyes on him. It makes him feel warm and uneasy at the same time, to be seen, looked at like he’s one of those expensive things that sit in jewelry stores behind bulled-proof glass. (Breakable but sought after)

Stringer knows when to look away too, adverting his eyes before Avon can look back, before an invisible line is crossed. When Stringer speaks again he sounds cool like he always does. Avon doesn’t listen, instead tries to concentrate on the heavy feeling on his lungs and not on the faint sense of disappointment in his gut.

Somehow not being looked at is worse.