nilchance: original artist terry moore; blonde staring at canvas with nude male and black handprint (fandom)
[personal profile] nilchance
Title: That Middle Road (29/48)
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.

Cozy light spills into the kitchen, casting shadows past the elegant shapes of Misha's hands. Jeremy leans back in his chair to crack his back and neck, trying to figure out what Misha and Denis are discussing (arguing about) now.

Denis talks like a machine gun in an old gangster movie, bang-bang-bang, except every third ‘bang’ replaced by ‘fuck’. Not many people can take it, but Misha seems unfazed. It probably helps that Misha can talk over Denis without getting into a volume war. (Denis always wins volume wars.)

“-- and that’s why normal people drink coffee, goddamn it, we didn’t throw tea in the harbor for you fucking hippies to sip your camomile with your pinkies up--”

Misha pointedly sips his tea with his middle finger raised.

“Yeah, if you were caffeinated, you’d give me two of those, buddy.”

Smiling, Misha signs, if you weren’t drinking so much espresso you could fuck for longer than twenty disappointing seconds at a stretch.

“Go ask your mom about it.”

Necrophilia is illegal in all fifty states.

If Jeremy didn’t hear so many Denis-Kane bullshit sessions, he wouldn’t see Denis dart a searching look at Misha. Assessing: did he just cross a line? Misha’s smile grows sharper edges and Denis relaxes, growling. “You do a lot of research into that, gimpy?”

The phone rings. Jeremy scoops it up, tucking it between his shoulder and ear. It may not muffle Denis entirely, but it’s his personal line and so they’ve probably heard worse. "Yeah, hi, what."

"Hey, Jer," Marisa says. "I heard you were in the desert eating locusts."

Something in his posture must betray him, because Denis shuts up. Jeremy glances at them over his shoulder. Denis curls his lip. Shamelessly, Misha studies Jeremy like this is an interesting bomb disposal.

Jeremy takes his phone out onto the porch. Once he’s out of earshot, he says, “Hey.”

More dead air hangs between them. Awkward. Were they always so awkward together?

“Hey,” he tries again, brighter. “How’s Seattle? How’s Gina?”

“Rainy. She’s okay. Misses the dog. She says to thank Den for packing her up so quick.” Marisa snerks a little. “She wants to send him cookies. Goddamn cookies, can you imagine?”

“Maybe if they’re cookies made out of cigarettes.”

“She mentioned gluten free, actually.”

“If she does, I’ll send pictures of Denis’s face.”

“I could just come home,” Marisa says. Her voice is casual, as if it means nothing to her.

They’ve been together for years, in various ways, but he doesn’t know when something matters to her. He thinks her philosophy is that whoever cares more in a fight is the one who loses. It might be an artifact of her time as a horse, the damage they did to her, or she might’ve always been like this. Whether it’s nature or nurture, the effect is the same, but he wonders anyway.

Jeremy leans against the porch rail. His stomach hurts with how much he wants to yell at her what the fuck are you doing? is this on purpose? But he eats his anger, like he always does. He can’t yell at her. It’s not her fault.

“Jeremy,” she prompts.

On again, off again, like the world’s worst strobe light. Once Denis had switched Jeremy’s ringtone for her to the Masochism Tango.

It wasn’t her fault that Jeremy twigged out and went into the desert. The meds had been wrong, he’d been going manic, she was just the stressor that pushed him off the ledge. That’s all. He can’t make his craziness her fault, because it’s not fair to her.

“Okay,” Marisa says, “the silent treatment is a little third grade for my tastes.”

He takes a deep breath, lets it out. “What about Scott?”

“Meh. Scott lost interest while I was in the monkey house. I’m sure he’d be down to fuck, he’s a dude, but I’m over it.”

Jeremy rubs the bridge of his nose. “What about Gina?”

“What about her?” The phone crackles a little as she exhales. He can just see her, phone pinned between the jut of her shoulder and her ear so she can chainsmoke. She smokes more when she’s starting a new medication, like he does, which is something nobody gets. Nobody but them. “She can stay up here. Get a house full of cats and a vegan girl to cook for.”

The words what about Misha? are right on Jeremy’s tongue, but he keeps quiet. He doesn’t know if she would even know the name. Part of him is incandescently pissed, the other agonized with how much he wants to tell her yes. Yes, of course, yes; come home. I love you. If he tips too far into one or the other, he’s going to say something stupid. It feels like the pressure of his fingers on his forehead are the only thing keeping his skull together.

“You said we were over,” he says.

“You know, if you’re pissed, just say it. Stop trying to be all patient with your crazy girlfriend. It’s not as cute as you think. Goddamn it, are we so messed up that you won’t even fight with me?”

“We can’t skip ahead to the part where I agree you’re still my girlfriend.”

“Oh, so you’re going to dump me in the hospital? Wow, that is some Jeff Morgan bullshit.”

“Stop,” he tells her, voice scraping his throat.

Her voice rises in volume and in scorn. “And now what, you replace me with some sweet little cripple? Why, so he can’t run? Can’t talk back and hurt your feelings? You think you’re so moral but you’re pathetic--”

Jeremy hangs up on her.

In the sudden quiet, he stares at the phone like it's a coiled snake. He waits for it to begin ringing, unsure if he’ll pitch it over the fence or if he’ll pick it up. What if he pushed her off the wagon? What if that was her cry for help? If they find her body in the street tomorrow, he can’t, he’ll…

The phone doesn’t ring. He doesn’t pick it up and call her back. He takes deep, steady breaths. If was a crying kind of person, it might be cathartic, but he isn’t.

Maybe this is what killing zombies feels like. Putting a bullet in an undead relationship before it eats you.

Yeah, that’s probably not the nicest thing Jeremy’s ever thought.

A cup of soup is set beside Jeremy’s elbow. He turns and looks at Misha’s tired, worried face. Misha leans on the rail next to him. There are thin white pain lines around his mouth.

Nodding at the cup, Misha signs, This is food. You put it in your face.

Jeremy snorts, the ache in his chest cracking to let some light in. “As always, I’m in awe of your tact and patience.”

Misha bows sardonically. You sound like Vincent. Only you don’t call me darling boy.

“You want me to?”

An intriguing offer. We can discuss pet names if you’d like. For a second, Jeremy thinks Misha might strike him where it’s tender: sweetheart. But that’s only Marisa’s venom leaking through his brain, because Misha adds, I’m thinking bunny.

“What, no honeybunch?”

Too reminiscent of cereal. I-- His cane, which he propped up on the porch rail, clatters to the ground. Misha glances down at it, sour, then signs: I’m like a ninja.

Retrieving the cane, Jeremy offers its handle. Misha studies him, then rests his fingers over top of Jeremy’s. His fingers are cool, his touch light, and Jeremy feels it to the nape of his neck.

“How long have you been eavesdropping?” he asks.

Misha shrugs, which means long enough. Are you angry?

“No,” Jeremy says automatically. When Misha raises one eyebrow, he amends, “Not at you. Expecting you not to spy is like expecting you not to blink. You could try but you’d be unhappy and I’d be worried and, I don’t know, your eyes would dry up or something. I’m all out of metaphor.”

Maybe lunch would help.

“Make you a deal? I’ll eat the sandwich, you take a couple pills. And a nap.”

Misha grimaces. That hardly seems like a fair exchange.

Jeremy reaches out to touch the engraved lines like parentheses around Misha’s mouth. Carefully, gently, he smoothes the pad of his thumb across the pain-lines. Misha’s stubble makes a soft scritching noise. Misha slits his eyes, his mouth relaxing. His mouth is pale and generous and chapped. It looks soft to touch.

It is a ridiculously bad idea to stand here looking at Misha’s mouth.

Jeremy tries not to yank back like Misha scalded him, but he’s not sure he succeeds. Misha regains his usual wry alertness, all edges and aches.

Belated, Jeremy says, “My brain is pretty much fried for numbers. Maybe we can watch a movie instead. Skip the nap. You’re overdue on a prescription of bad sci-fi with rubber monsters.”

And they’ll probably both fall asleep mid-movie, Misha because muscle relaxants knock him out and Jeremy because he’s still on a year’s backlog of sleep debt. Misha studies him as if Jeremy’s tricks are transparent to him, which they probably are. Fuck, Misha is too smart for him even when he’s on his game. He should’ve gone to someone sharper, someone better.

Misha tilts his chin stubbornly up. I’m not a cheap date. I require popcorn and snuggling.

“Anything you want.”

With a contented hum, Misha signs, Then I want to know about the Trust.

Jeremy blinks. Blinks again.

Misha drums his fingers on Jeremy’s hand, still clinging to Misha’s cane. Have I murdered you?

Clearing his throat, Jeremy tries, “Who told you? Jensen?”

Misha wrinkles his nose. Jensen wouldn’t tell anyone anything. Zach assumed you’d already told me, but apparently I need to work on my poker face. I asked Denis and he made… well, the same face you’re making.

Jeremy doesn’t think he’s making a face. He retrieves his hand from the cane, rubbing self-consciously at his mouth. “I’m surprised you didn’t rifle through my desk.”

Misha raises his eyebrows. Shall I?

“No, it’s. I’m sorry, it’s fine. Zach’s right, I should’ve told you. I can trust you.”

Misha’s smile gentles his whole face. Yes, you can.

Date: 2013-09-25 12:20 am (UTC)
fufaraw: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fufaraw
More! I'm so greedy for this. Thank you,

Date: 2013-09-25 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Getting an update on this is like rain in the desert.

Date: 2013-09-25 03:38 am (UTC)
silentflux: (Highlander - friends)
From: [personal profile] silentflux
Yay! I was so stoked to see this. The chapter is awesome and I love the interactions and snark and true caring that you show through their interactions :) Can't wait to read more!

Date: 2013-09-25 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Every time this updates I shriek a little and read it as soon as I can-- it's absolutely worth the wait and I love it every time. I especially love watching Misha's development as a character and how the plot is progressing. Thank you so much for keeping this going. :)

Date: 2013-09-25 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love how you describe Misha. I can absolutely, utterly picture every expression he makes, the way that you write it.

I'm also so proud of Jeremy that I could spit. Wait, that's gross, isn't it? Still, the sentiment is there.

(I love this. Thank you, as always!)

Date: 2013-09-26 05:22 am (UTC)
digitalwave: (Eisha - Pounce!)
From: [personal profile] digitalwave
Wow, sweetie, what an amazing present to receive in my inbox. This was gorgeous, as always! :)

*hugs you hard*

Date: 2013-10-02 06:55 am (UTC)
ext_73821: (misha collins GUH)
From: [identity profile]
Just spotted this update and shrieked with excitement! Soooo happy to see more of this story! The Kept verse in general is one of my all time favorites and I love the way you write Misha and everyone. I live in hope of more chapters to come, but am deeply grateful for what you've written so far. *hugs story tight*

Date: 2013-11-09 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yum, updates. As always, your writing makes it easy to see the people in my head. I really like your Misha, broken like most of the 'kept verse, but so interesting.

Date: 2013-12-04 06:13 am (UTC)
lapillus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapillus
I'm so happy that you're still working on the 'verse.


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