nilchance: Picture of a pomegranate with spilled seeds, text "I think you're confused, I'm not Persephone" (misha mish)
[personal profile] nilchance
Title: That Middle Road (27/48)
Author: [ profile] nilchance
Pairing: Misha Collins/Jeremy Sisto
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This isn't real.
A/N: Set in [ 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. This chapter is set during Chapter 60 and Chapter 61 of [ profile] poisontaster's story A Kept Boy.

There are noises from the bedroom.

Misha has open games of Words with Friends and hard-copy solitaire, and he's looking up side effects of Seroquel and Lamictal, and he's watching the Farm Report on mute, but that can't stop him from hearing stifled noises from the bedroom. From straining to hear the noises. From identifying the noises: the headboard creaking, a woman's murmured voice, a shuddering moan.

He remembers this feeling from Vincent's service, stumbling across Cook's trysts in the pantry or Vincent's daughter using her slave after dinner. Only he remembers being amused by the squish and sweat of it, so smugly aware that he is better for his own lack of desire.

He is not so amused now. He feels hot and itchy, caught too tightly in his skin. He does not like this change. He wants it to go back. Vincent was so much safer, Vincent did not sling an arm around Misha's belly at night and hold him close, Vincent did not smell like resin and lemon balm and warm skin.

Quiet from the bedroom. Misha bites his thumb and wonders if he has the letters for 'voyeur'.

"Cow," pipes up Ryzer from behind him. Misha turns his head to the television, where there is indeed a cow. He sighs, and then takes Ryzer's small hand to get him cookies and a glass of milk. That seems to be what one does with other people's children.

They're sitting together on the couch, Ryzer helping Misha with his cookies, when Zach emerges from the bedroom. Zach is wearing Jeremy's shirt, his hair rumpled, and he closes the door behind him. When he passes the couch, he seems unsurprised to find Ryzer awake and on Misha's lap.

Ryzer immediately clamors up the back of the couch, making grabby hands at Zach. With one arm, Zach hauls Ryzer up onto his shoulder and holds him as he picks up his cell phone. Dials.

Misha sits up straighter on the couch. Signs, who are you calling?

Zach gives him one thin, tired look, which is his answer. Then he says to the phone, "It's Zach. He's here." A pause. "He's fine. Cate already came by." Another pause. "He's sleeping, man, I'm telling you he's okay. It wasn't that bad this time... yeah. Yeah, all right. He's not gonna Houdini. Just get here."

Zach hangs up. It's a short call, less than a minute. Zach hands Misha his phone back.

Misha looks at him.

Hitching Ryzer further up on his shoulder, Zach tells Misha, "Stop looking at me like I ate a kitten, dude."

You called Jeff, Misha signs. He shouldn't be surprised by this; he's been softened by his time away from intrigue. But he is surprised, and he resents it.

Zach shrugs. "Denis said he was going to if Jeff called Jeremy's house. All the people that've been around tonight, we're not gonna be able to keep it a secret."

It's an answer. It isn't an answer. Misha squints at Zach, assessing, then takes the shot. Because Jeff's your master.

Zach doesn't wince or rock back on his heels. He says, evenly, "Yeah. That's part of it. Even with the Trust, that's always gonna be part of it."

Misha signs a question. Trust?

Rolling his eyes to the ceiling, Zach mutters, "Jeremy, goddamn it... all right, just. Ask him about that. But Jeff being my master," the word said like it's still bitter in Zach's mouth, "isn't all of it. It's the whole Jeff and Jeremy thing--"

Which nobody will tell me about, Misha signs.

"-- which has been going on before you, Jensen, me or even freaking Kane. It's ancient history. It's this whole," Zach gestures, indicating the room, the house, the world, "big dramatic elephant in the living room. Nobody talks about the elephant. It's just that when Jeff walks into a room, Jeremy always looks. When Jeremy walks into a room, Jeff always looks."

That's quite romantic, Misha deadpans. Do you cry at weddings?

"All right, if you're gonna ask me the fu-- the question, then listen." There's no real edge to Zach's voice. He strokes Ryzer's hair. "Even if you didn't have the balls to ask. You ought to know before you trip on it. Jeremy and Jeff, they're each other's people. Like Wendy and me. Even when they're trying to stay on opposite sides of LA, even when they're crazy pissed at each other, even when they're both seeing other people. Even if they're probably never going to sleep together again."

Again, Misha thinks, the word thudding in his mind like it was dropped from a great height. He blinks, recalculating, forming a new pattern.

It must show on his face, because Zach shrugs. "So yeah. You're never gonna get Jeremy completely to yourself. He's never going to be normal and he's always going to need Jeff some." Zach flicks his fingers as if shaking ash off a cigarette. "I don't even know if they know that, but I guess you do now. Sorry. Them's the breaks. You've just got to decide if you can live with that."

Misha studies Zach, the untroubled look on his face as if he didn't just say more words in a row than Misha's heard him say ever.

"But what do I know," Zach says, "I'm not the therapy guy."

And he exits, pausing to get a beer out of the fridge, taking Ryzer with him.

Misha picks up the cards, shuffling until he finds all the hearts, and sets them aside.

This is not his game, and so it is wiser not to play.
Jeff arrives in less than an hour. It's a speed that indicates that he must have dropped everything and driven above the speed limit.

Wendy has slunk out of the bedroom, washing dishes with unnecessary force until Misha joined her at the sink to help dry. When he glances at her, she's chewing her lip.

They love Jeremy, this tribe of people that Misha only vaguely understands. It would be simpler if they didn't. Misha knew the world as a zero-sum game, his mother against the Man, his brother and him against Escrow, Vincent against Society, Jeremy against Sanity. He never had a pack of pushing-shoving intrusive touchy people to deal with before.

They're not his people, at least. That helps.

(He tells himself that it helps.)

Misha hears Jeff's voice first, that rumbling furred voice. Wendy stiffens beside him, her head coming up; Misha takes the glass from her hand before she cracks it with her grip.

"He still here?" Jeff asks, and that's it, Wendy goes to the front door and blocks it with her body.

Words are exchanged. Misha half-listens, putting the glass in its place on the drying rack before he joins Wendy just inside the door. He's taller than she is, though not by much, and over her shoulder he can see two men. Jeff and his boyslave. Interesting that Jeff brought him here. Interesting that Zach chose to mark time by the bodyslave's arrival, Before Jensen, as if that meant some fundamental shift in the world.

Misha knows the bodyslave's face, an itching familiarity that he can't quite pin down. He could have done so before the accident, he knows, but before the accident, he would have intervened in the parley at the door. Talked fast until everyone was confused and pliable.

What would Jeremy have him do?

He touches Wendy's shoulder, intervening as he still can. She inhales and then steps away from the door. "Don't fuck this up."

Jeff sighs, almost too quiet to hear. Almost. As he comes in the door, Misha can see the resemblance in his face to Javier Bardem. Jeff seems more weary than Javier ever was, but Misha backs up a few steps anyway.

There is some interplay between Jeff and Wendy, an argument, a hug. Misha watches Jensen check his phone, the profile, the full mouth, the scar on his chin... Hutton's boy? Old enough for that? Unfashionable for La Morgan's son. Misha would kill or maim for Jensen's provenance, or at least to be awake enough to think clearly.

Vincent would've had Misha's head for checking his phone in a meeting, but perhaps it's business. Misha wants to touch the wrinkled lines of his suit, to correct them because at least another bodyslave might notice his lack of precision. But then, he's ruined and mute now, so suit details are futile.

Jensen returns his phone to his pocket. He looks at Misha.

Misha looks at Jensen.

Jensen raises his hands and signs, did you know Jeremy is bipolar?

It's an interesting question, an assumption that Misha isn't informed about his own master's health. Misha considers, then shows Jensen the bottle of pills. They discuss Jeremy's condition, which Misha sums up as 'manic' because it seems more polite than 'madroad driving in bat country' and he's mixing his authors and he is tired again.

He doesn't know if he's being genuine or slipping into the act of naive ingenue, if he's playing or being played, if he's reaching for help or pulling Jensen down. I don't know how to help him, Misha signs. My master. He's not like...

Jeff slips into the bedroom with Jeremy. Maybe that's how Misha helps Jeremy best.

Jensen's laugh is a little wry, turned inward. The corners of his eyes scrunch when he laughs. He takes Misha's arm by the elbow. Absently, Jensen tugs the cuff of Misha's sleeve back into perfect alignment. It's a small kindness, and it's disarming.

I understand, Jensen signs, guiding Misha to the couch before Misha's even really aware that he's being moved. I'm still struggling to get my own footing. Jeff has been very kind.

Misha feels a prickle of resentment, this pampered housecat of a slave leading him around, but Jensen does it with such poise that Misha's outrage fizzles. He's never been easily handled, but then he's never spent much time around other bodyslaves. Tim's retinue had been quite enough, Danny backbiting and Johnny preferring his own company, and Misha had always been at the top of the food chain. It's puzzling, being pulled aside to converse with another bodyslave while the masters handled business.

Yes, Misha hedges. Vincent had a different kindness. I was different, when I wasn't like this. A gesture to his knee, his head. Useful.

Jensen doesn't move, not even to fidget, but he seems to become more watchful. His eyes track Misha's scars but don't linger, not disgusted or fascinated. It took time for Jeff to make use of me, Jensen signs.

Misha replays the conversation in his head. No, Vincent never made use of me in a sexual way. Jeremy's not going to make use of me in a sexual--

Misha's fingers trip over the sign for 'sexual', both times he uses it.

"Ah," Jensen says softly, then signs, I see.

Misha snaps his fingers and scowls at Jensen. Don't 'ah, I see' at me.

Jensen nods, his gaze dropping demurely as if he's chastened. Then he glances up at Misha, watching him, not without sympathy. It's a look that says Jensen doesn't think Vincent was so kind, not using Misha sexually.

I'm not asking you about sex, Misha signs warningly, even as he can feel himself thawing out. He wants to talk about it with someone. He wants not to get that sad, sorry, poor slave look if he talks about it, like he's crazy for wishing somebody had fucked him just once. Even cruelly. It feels traitorous, thinking that while Jeremy has rape nightmares, but he can't stop thinking it. He can't stop wishing somebody had broken him open so he was the kind of slave like Zach or Marisa, the kind of slave Jeremy could fuck.

As if that doesn't make him even more naive.

Jensen quirks a smile and says, I'd answer you.

It's the best thing he could've said.

I’m a virgin, Misha says, and finally he can breathe.

Jensen signs, I can help you with that.

Date: 2012-05-29 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was always fascinated by what led to the end of chapter 61 of AKB (one of my favourite stories). Misha is a very interesting character.

Date: 2012-05-30 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

Date: 2012-05-30 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to seeing this scene from this perspective.

Date: 2012-05-30 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! Me too. *g*

Date: 2012-05-30 02:38 am (UTC)
embroiderama: (Misha)
From: [personal profile] embroiderama
I love the communication between Misha and Jensen here as well as Misha's thoughts about Jensen. Also, virgin!

Date: 2012-05-30 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Misha is interesting because he comes to these snap judgments (see Jensen the pampered housecat) but he also re-evaluates things quickly, too.

Icon love.

Date: 2012-05-30 03:26 am (UTC)
poisontaster: Jeremy Sisto (Sisto on the rug)
From: [personal profile] poisontaster
when Jeff walks into a room, Jeremy always looks. When Jeremy walks into a room, Jeff always looks.
And they always WILL.

Date: 2012-05-30 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes. Yes, they will. *draws hearts around*

Date: 2012-05-30 05:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Again AGAIN I'm really crappy about leaving comments, but I love every time this pops up. And I like watching their slow, steady steps toward healing, and having both the Jeff/Jeremy issues AND Misha's own sexuality come up in one chapter feels like...well, to steal your analogy, that someone finally noticed the white elephant in the room. Very satisfying. These last few Chapters in general have just felt like...those first moments when you tip over the top edge of the roller coaster, like everyone is going somewhere, and when they finally realize it, it's going to be FAST. Lovely lovely lovely.

Date: 2012-05-30 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! Yes, there's all these things they don't talk about, and here's Misha and Jensen, forcing them to talk about them.

Date: 2012-05-30 09:42 am (UTC)
fufaraw: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fufaraw
So good to see more of this. I'm patient. And appreciative.

Date: 2012-05-30 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

Date: 2012-05-30 11:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have been waiting for this scene to play out, it was always the most intriguing outtake from chapter 61. Now where to from here? Sessions with Jenson for pointers?
I feel for Misha, he will never be quite number one in Jeremys world.

Date: 2012-05-30 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

Icon love. So much.

I don't necessarily think that Misha will never be number one in Jeremy's world. I think Jeremy's priorities shift over time. Marisa was his number one; Jeff was it before that. Now Jeremy's health is his own priority. But I think Misha is coming to be very important to Jeremy, and will be the number one in time, if that makes sense. Jeremy loves with his whole heart, and it's big enough for his whole tribe of strange people in their one ways.

Date: 2012-05-30 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oooh, there's more meat in this than a big juicy rib-eye steak! *tucks in* It's wonderful to see Jensen from another perspective than Jeff's schmoopy besottedness, satisfying as that is; it rounds him out.

Also, that /48 on the chapter number makes me very happy, because it means there is So Much More to come! *glee*

Date: 2012-05-30 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Yes, it was interesting to me to see Jensen in that new angle, too, because Misha is too wary (especially of Jeff) not to sniff and circle and posture a little before accepting Jensen as his own person. And Jensen is just a delight to me as [ profile] poisontaster writes him, so that was fun as well. :)

Also, neeee Misha icon. He's so adorkable.

Date: 2012-07-17 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Stumbled onto this story today and spent all my not-really-spare time reading it. I can really lose myself in these characters and their world.

You have a gift for an apparently effortless turn of phrase that brings nuance and depth to the characters' interactions.

Thanks so much for writing and sharing--I look forward to reading more!
Edited Date: 2012-07-17 12:02 am (UTC)


nilchance: Picture of a pomegranate with spilled seeds, text "I think you're confused, I'm not Persephone" (Default)
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