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Sometimes You're Small

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Being the one in charge had its perks.

Sure, Geoff wasn't the only person around with power in the company. Hell, he didn't even use it often. Most of his influence was based on the trust his boys had in him, which was built over several years. The gents respected him, the lads looked up to him, and everyone knew Geoff was reliable. He brought a lot of fatherly instincts to work with him, which was pretty helpful since he was essentially managing a bunch of children most of the time.

Most of the time.

Sometimes, Geoff wasn't really managing much at all. The downside of being so looked up to and relied upon was the stress. He had deadlines to meet, events to organize, and friends to spend time with. It was a lot, and occasionally it was way too much. For a long time he coped with alcohol. Unfortunately, as you get older, it starts to become pretty clear that's not a good long-term stress management plan. So, he tried other methods. Definitely not fucking yoga, though. Video games weren't a fun distraction either since they usually just reminded him of work. And even though Geoff encouraged his boys to share how they felt, he didn't do it much himself, so therapy was a waste of time. Thankfully, he eventually found what worked.

“Hey pal, is that a truck?” Ryan’s voice rang in Geoff's ear, startling him slightly. He turned to face the man crouching next to him and offered a small nod and an even smaller smile. Said truck was clutched tightly in his right hand, as though he was nervous someone would try to take it.

Ryan made no such move. Instead, he sat cross-legged next to Geoff and grabbed a different toy from the small plastic bin sitting in front of them. “Hey Geoff,” said Ryan, “what's this one?” He asked as he held the toy motorcycle in front of the other man, making sure to sound genuinely curious.


Geoff didn't offer anything else. He never did, when they played. Words weren't his thing. Still, he blushed at the way Ryan praised him.

“Yeah! And I bet my bike could beat your truck in a race.” Challenged Ryan, smirking. That earned him a scoff from the truck holder. “Oh, you don't think so? Here, how about we give it a shot.” He said, standing back up. He didn't bother to offer a hand to Geoff, instead just hooking his hands under the other man's arms and pulling him to his feet gently. Geoff allowed the handling, leaning into Ryan once he was on his feet, truck still in one hand while his other moved towards his face. He slipped two of his fingers in his mouth and chewed lightly on the digits, a sign he had some stress building up. Ryan immediately put an arm around the shorter man’s shoulders and smiled when he saw the chewing stop, replaced by a gentler suckling. He'd already given up on making Geoff stop the sucking all together. Instead of throwing a tantrum, he had simply shut down completely the few times he was made to spit his fingers out. After that Ryan let him get away with it so long as he wasn't actually hurting himself.

They made their way out of Geoff’s living room and to the backyard. The two of them were the only ones around, since the rest of the gang was still at work. It had taken a lot to convincing for Ryan to even get Geoff to leave the studio, but he saw how badly his boy needed some down time.

The backyard was shaded by a large maple tree that had been there since before Geoff bought the place and had somehow survived the scorching Texas summers. Gavin’s shed was on the other side of the yard, but they were heading for a different spot in the yard. Towards the back, in a well-shaded section, Ryan and Jack had spent time wearing the grass down in a ring shape. Once they finally got the little path down to red clay against the soft grass, they had shown it to Geoff and dubbed it Achievement Hunter Speedway. Their boy was a big fan of toy cars, especially race cars, so he lit up when he got an outdoor racetrack of his own for his cars. The hugs and quiet thank you's had been more than enough of a reward for their work. Seeing Geoff enthusiastically move cars around the path was the cherry on top.

Ryan sat next to the loop, Geoff quickly following suit and leaning into him. He wasn't a talker, but the boy thrived on physical contact. There was never really a time he wasn't touching somebody, whether it was wrapping around Ryan like an octopus or fisting a hand in Jack’s shirt when he needed an anchor. He gently placed his truck on the designated startline of the racetrack, relaxing as the warmth from the sun washed over him. Ryan put his motorcycle next to the truck and pecked a kiss to the top of his boy’s head. “Winner gets to pick dinner.” He said, which brought a suddenly very determined look to Geoff's face.

“Ready… set…”

“There's my boys!”

A voice called, interrupting Ryan’s countdown and making Geoff practically jump out of his skin. The boy dropped his truck and dove into Ryan, hiding his face in the man’s chest. He was still nervous about being seen that way.

“What the-- Jack! You know not to startle him.” Ryan admonished the bearded man as he sat down next to them on the grass with a guilty frown.

“Sorry, bud. It's me, Jack! I'm here to see my special guy.” Jack quietly spoke, trying to urge Geoff to show his face. No luck. The man just huffed and clung to Ryan tighter, becoming more annoyed than nervous as he calmed down. “Loud.” He said, voice muffled by the shirt his face was pressed into. That earned a sigh from Jack. He reached out and ran his fingers through Geoff’s messy hair, which just got another huff from the boy. Jack chuckled a bit and ruffled his hair instead. Immediately, Geoff emerged from hiding to glare at him. That made Ryan laugh, too, and the boy gasped when his savior had the audacity to laugh at him.

“Sorry, little man.” Jack apologized again, still smiling. Geoff rolled his eyes.


“What about the race?” Ryan reminded him.

“Ham.” He said, his attempt at sounding serious thwarted as he shoved his thumb in his mouth.

Geoff still cracked his own little smile when Ryan and Jack burst into laughter at his antics. Sure, there were perks to being the boss. But sometimes, it was way more fun to be one of the kids.