nilchance: Picture of a pomegranate with spilled seeds, text "I think you're confused, I'm not Persephone" (Default)
[personal profile] nilchance
Title: That Middle Road (30/48)
Author: [personal profile] nilchance
Pairing: Misha Collins/Jeremy Sisto
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This isn't real.
A/N: Set in [personal profile] poisontaster's A Kept Boy 'verse. This story deals with mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, and with slavery as used in the AKB 'verse. There's also mention of rape, suicide, institutionalization and self-harm. And polyamory. And kink. And a partridge in a pear tree.



"Hey, I think this is for you."

Misha looks up from the battered, spine-broken copy of Georgette Heyer. He found it in the library, figuring at first that it was Gina's until he discovered Denis's cramped notes in the margin. Misha has read Heyer enough times that the running marginal commentary provides most of the entertainment.

Jeremy sets a little box down in front of Misha. It looks fancy. Misha raises an eyebrow at Jeremy, silent question mark, and Jeremy raises his hands. "It's from Jensen, apparently. Kane dropped it off."

Which clarifies nothing. Misha bookmarks the Heyer and puts it aside so he can examine the box.

Within the box is a card and a well-padded pot of cream. It looks ominously expensive in its smoked glass and silver lid. Creme de la Mer. Misha's mother always joked that French brand names cost extra.

The card says, in Jensen's neat hand, 'I suggest this before any more educational or recreational kissing.'

Misha snerks, then opens the jar to sniff it. Strange smell. He sticks his tongue in it. Strange taste.

If Vincent was alive, he'd tell Misha that a dignified (or long-lived) man did not taste substances sent by virtual strangers. It would be good advice. But Jeremy only watches him, apparently rapt.

Jeremy says, "I don't think Jensen got you that to eat."

Misha sets the lip balm down and relids it. I don't know why he got me it at all.

"I don't know why Jensen does pretty much anything."

Untrue. You just wish you didn't know.

Jeremy shrugs, conceding the point, whether it's about trauma or about Jeff or both. "Probably good he doesn't know Jeff uses Carmex. He might stroke out."

No, Misha thinks, Jensen would probably say that as a master Jeff could do whatever he liked. Also, Misha doubts that Jensen doesn't intimately know what Jeff puts on or in his mouth.

Sometimes Jeremy's interpretation of other people was eerily accurate, but sometimes he could be oblivious. Really, he was lucky to have Misha around to do it for him.

****

That night, Misha waits puts the little jar of lip balm on the bathroom counter. It looks strange next Misha's toothbrush, the only thing he's put there so far. He considers that there should be a word for feeling embarrassed and grateful at the same time.

He glances at himself in the mirror, his scuffed and dry mouth, then around for any sign of Jeremy. Then he puts the lip balm on.

It still tastes funny, but Jeremy's attention keeps snagging on his lips all night.

****

Misha buys flowers to thank Jensen, mostly because he lacks any other ideas. What do you buy for a man who has everything and nothing?

It still takes him ninety minutes to pick an arrangement. Expensive but tasteful; not too heavily scented; nothing that could be misconstrued as a romantic overture; nothing cliched; nothing poisonous in case of dogs, cats or toddlers.

Buying years of gifts on Vincent's behalf should have prepared him, but no. He discovers, awkwardly, that he cares about Jensen's good opinion.

In the end, he buys a small succulent garden. He doesn't want to give Jensen something beautiful and dead.

****

When the pain wakes Misha in the small hours that night, he reaches for his cell phone. He checks the confirmation order for Jensen's gift. Then he asks Google: how do you friend?

The results all suggest buying a new slave to be a companion.

Misha backs out, then tries again: how do you people?

Also not helpful. Apparently he's going to have to figure it out on his own.

****

Tactically, Misha should keep Jensen close. Jensen is close to Jeff, who seems like the epicenter of their whole social circle as well as the head of Morgan International and… whatever he is to Jeremy.

Here in Jeremy’s house, Misha is cut off from the prime gossip. He knows Denis, who knows Christian Kane, but Denis isn’t interested in what Misha wants to know. When Misha tries to ask about it, Denis 1) squints at him, 2) asks why he’s getting the fucking third degree, and 3) tells him to fuck off and/or get a hobby.

Misha flips him off with both hands. He’s glad they’re really communicating.

What do you know about Jensen? he adds, before loses Denis’s attention.

"He's crazy," Denis replies immediately. He has a coffee mug in one hand and a book in the other. He's trying to quit smoking for undisclosed mind-your-own-business reasons, and he drinks coffee like he chain smokes, in aggressive swigs. Misha keeps waiting for Denis to hit himself in the face with the book. At least he's remembering to watch Misha's hands this time.

When Denis doesn't say anything else, Misha prompts, is that it?

Denis shrugs. "He's not that interesting."

Misha squints. One could describe Jensen in many ways, but uninteresting isn't one of them. Jeremy's crazy.

Denis snorts. "No shit? Jeremy's like fucking jump off a bridge crazy. You know, down the road and not across the street crazy. You give him pills and he's mostly alright. You couldn't fix Jensen with the whole fucking pharmacy."

What's wrong with him?

"He's like... okay, say Morgan gets it in his head one morning that he wants to run over a guy. Jensen would go lay down in the driveway and he'd smile about it. Because that's just what you do, that's what bodyslaves are for. Poor kid’s damn lucky Morgan’s not that guy." After a moment, Denis grimaces. “So yeah: fucking crazy.”

***

The sum of things Misha knows about Jensen:
- Denis thinks he’s crazy;
- They spent an evening together while Zach and Wendy were fucking Jeremy;
- Jensen sympathizes about the difficulty of abolitionist masters ;
- They kissed for practice. It was nice.
- Jensen was kind to him when he didn’t have to be;
- Jeff adores him as much as Jensen adores Jeff. It’s understandable. Jensen is cripplingly pretty with hangups about loving his master. But it’s not the adoration of an owner and a lovely bit of art, as far as Misha can tell. It’s got feelings behind it.
- It’d be easier if Jeff was more like his asshole brother. Misha likes disliking him. It makes things simpler.
- Refraining from vehicular homicide doesn’t set a high bar for Morgan’s behavior, but the way he watches Jensen like he set the sun in the sky is undeniable.

***

A few days pass. Then Misha gets a text. The first one is just a picture of the succulent arrangement, which has pride of place in a sunny office. The second text: thank you for the gift. It’s lovely.

Misha studies his phone. The smoothness of Jensen’s courtesy leaves few handholds. Thank you for the lipbalm. It’s slippery. After a moment, he adds a smiley.

Smilies are the lubricant of electronic communication.

Jensen texts back: did you use it?

Yes, and I think it helped.

Jensen’s text: did Jeremy like it? Then, hesitantly, :)

“What are you smiling at?” Jeremy asks. “Kittens? Rainbows? Rainbow kittens?”

Nothing yet, Misha says, and tucks the phone in his jacket pocket. It sits warm against his chest, like a happy secret.

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