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 (33/48)
Author: nilchance
Pairing: Misha Collins/Jeremy Sisto
Rating: Adult
Disclaimer: This isn't real.
A/N: Set in 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.



Misha returns to the waiting room looking like a cat with its fur rubbed the wrong way. He has a fistful of prescriptions and a sour expression.

They came after Traci’s business hours and the waiting room is empty. Jeremy is free to ask, and he does. “That good?”

Misha transfer the baleful look to Jeremy. Then he limps over, shoves the prescriptions in Jeremy’s shirt pocket, and catches him by the jacket. Jeremy lets himself be towed out the door and to the parking garage.

Once they’re in the car, Misha starts fastidiously straightening his own clothes. That was unpleasant, he signs.

Sometimes Jeremy is jealous of the fact that he has to look Misha in the face to read sign, but Misha can avoid looking at Jeremy as much as he wants.

“Sorry,” Jeremy says. Despite knowing Traci and her good heart, he feels compelled to add, “She didn’t hurt you, did she?”

Misha waves a hand, dismissive. There’s lines of pain engraved on his face. Not her fault. Comes with the territory.

“Sorry,” Jeremy says again. “We’ll stop for your meds and go home.”

After food, Misha says. Getting lectured at is exhausting, and I’m starved. Also I’m supposed to smoke weed.

Jeremy doesn’t swerve the car, but it’s only because he’s used to passengers saying terrible bullshit while he’s driving. “Oh yeah?”

Misha nods, turning towards Jeremy to clarify with fingerspelling, Marijuana. Reefer.

“I know what it is, dude. And I’m just wondering, did Vincent make you watch 50s documentaries about the devil’s weed? Loose women and communists? STDs in the navy?”

Only the once. Before Jeremy can follow up on that information, Misha continues. And I know you know, you’re a stoner. All your friends are stoners. You might try not to smoke around me but you left weed in your bedside table.

Jeremy has a horrible moment where he remembers what he keeps in his bedside tables. Did he have sex toys in the table on Misha’s side? “Not all my friends are stoners. Just most of them. I didn’t know if it’d bother you.”

Misha rolls his eyes. He’s getting really good at it.

“We can smoke some when we get home, if you want.” Jeremy feels weirdly self-conscious about the quality of weed he has on hand. He’s pretty sure Misha wouldn’t want to stop off at Jeff’s for better stuff. That’d be a hilarious and horrifying series of mishaps right there. Jeff plus Jeff’s mom (who probably still calls Jeremy ‘that boy’ if she remembers him at all) plus Misha in this pissy mood. “I’ll show you how.”

Of course, Misha signs. I wouldn’t let anybody else.

****

“You can’t wear a suit,” Jeremy says. “For one thing, it’s uncomfortable. For another, it’s gonna take forever to get the smoke out. And that’s if you don’t burn a hole in it.”

Pajamas? Misha asks. He’s sitting on the edge of their bed. The earnestness on his face is killing Jeremy.

If Misha burns a hole in the ridiculous pajamas, Jeremy doesn’t even know where he’d find replacements. That’d be a sneaky way to get around them, but Misha seems attached.

“You can borrow mine,” Jeremy says, and tosses Misha some sweats. Soft clothes, worn out from years of use. If a little part of Jeremy likes that they’re his clothes, nobody has to know. “Easier to replace.”

Misha nods, accepting that. Then he shrugs out of his jacket, and starts to unbutton his shirt.

Once Jeremy manages to unfreeze his brain from its blue screen of death, he realizes Misha is just going to strip in front of him.

“Okay yeah,” Jeremy says, and flees.

Somewhere Jeff is probably laughing his ass off.

****

The t-shirt and sweats are treacherously thin. Jeremy can see the frame of Misha’s body through them: long thighs, narrow hips, bare forearms. Nice ass. Jesus, Jeremy can see the line of Misha’s dick. He shouldn’t be looking at this, but he can’t tear his eyes away. After weeks of suits, it’s like seeing him naked. Jeremy might as well have watched him strip.

What? Misha signs, looking self-conscious.

Jeremy shakes himself. “Nothing. I rolled you some joints to start.”

Goddamn sexy sweatpants.

****

Jeremy’s refereed first trips before: his sister dropped acid, his dad did ecstasy, a few of his dad’s people who should’ve known better than to have a teenager supervise. It was sometimes terrifying, sometimes emotional, but mostly boring and/or irritating. Misha is the first person who’s been adorable.

Misha frowns at the joint in his hand. How do you know if it’s working?

Given that Misha’s gone from sitting upright to slumping against Jeremy’s side in the course of an hour, Jeremy is pretty sure it’s working. He drapes his arm around Misha’s shoulders because the other choice is probably amputation. “Does your leg hurt?”

Misha nods. Always. But I don’t really care about it.

“Well, there you go.”

Misha takes that in solemnly, like holy writ, and says, My mouth is dry.

Jeremy hands him the bottle of water, and Misha drinks greedily. Once it’s finished, Misha hands Jeremy the empty water bottle back.

“Thanks,” Jeremy says, wry. “You want more?”

Shaking his head no, Misha signs, comfortable.

It’s not really clear if he means that he’s gotten comfortable or that Jeremy’s good furniture. It doesn’t really matter, because either one means Jeremy’s not moving. Misha needs more comfortable in his life.

Traci wants to do the surgery, Misha says. But it’s not going to fix me.

Yeah. Jeremy figured it was something like that. Traci had said as much at the first appointment, but hope is a bastard. He squeezes Misha tight to his side. “I know. I’m sorry.”

I used to run, did you know that? Before Jeremy can say anything, Misha continues, I ran from Vincent two days after he bought me. The only time he ever hit me.

Jesus. “That wasn’t on your provenance.”

I wasn’t caught by the police. I didn’t make it off the property. Lucky.

“It’s fucked up when that counts as lucky.”

I had nowhere to go. Most masters wouldn’t be generous and hide it. Misha shrugs like he’s shaking off the topic. Would you want to be cured, if you could?

“I don’t know. I’ve thought about it. I’ve been crazy for a long time. Most of my life. I don’t know what I’d be if I wasn’t.” Maybe together with Jeff. Maybe happy. Maybe somebody entirely different than himself. “But crazy is different than hurting all the time.”

I’d take my words back first. Misha doesn’t say anything for a minute. Do you want her to fix me?

“No,” Jeremy says immediately. “Are you fucking kidding me? No. It’s not my call anyway.”

Vincent would want her to.

“I’m not Vincent. You love the guy, and I liked him a lot, but he could be kind of a dick.”

For a minute, Jeremy thinks Misha might be angry. Then Misha laughs. He could be. And he’d be exasperated if nobody would say so just because he’s dead.

“Hopefully he’s too busy haunting Waterston to haunt us.”

Hopefully he’s with his wife.

“That too.”

They fall into a comfortable quiet so deep that Jeremy can hear the joint crackle as Misha smokes. They watch Mythbusters.

Suddenly, sharply, Misha cranes his head to look Jeremy’s in the eyes. Their faces are too close. His pupils are black and wide. Misha signs something, and Jeremy says quickly, “Wait, let me lean back so I can see your hands.”

Once Jeremy’s leaned back, the arm of the sofa digging into his spine, Misha signs, I said, Jensen doesn’t smoke weed.

Misha uses a name sign for Jensen: a J circling around his face like the word ‘pretty.’ Jeremy can assume by context that it’s Jensen, It’s just one part of the confusing whole. “I’m not really surprised.”

Sometimes he shotguns Jeff, though, Misha signs. They like it. We should try that.

The room goes still all at once. “You’re really high right now, Mish,” Jeremy says slowly.

And I’m a slave. And you’re crazy. And I’m crippled. Misha studies him. Do these things cancel each other out? I know what I want.

Jeremy looks at Misha, soft-edged and rumpled in Jeremy’s clothes, and feels his heart turn over. “And this is what you want?”

Misha nods, his gaze on Jeremy like a physical weight.

Before he can be a coward, Jeremy plucks the joint out of Misha’s hand. He takes a deep drag, like a shot to the brain, and kisses Misha.

It’s not a graceful kiss. Jeremy’s had more skillful kisses, more frantic biting ones, and more gentle ones. But it’s one of the best kisses in his life.

Misha makes a little noise in his throat. Automatically Jeremy starts to pull back, but Misha puts a hand on the back of his neck and holds him there for another long moment. Then he lets Jeremy go, although he leaves his hand where it is.

Jeremy watches him, the thoughtful curve of Misha’s mouth. “Well,” he says, trying not to sound like he’s out of breath. “Do you approve, your highness?”

Misha hums smugly, and Jeremy laughs.

“Good. I’m glad.” And he is, even if they never talk about this again. Even if he’s just a stepladder to Misha kissing someone for real. Even if kissing Jeremy is like kissing Jensen to Misha, something friends do. Jeremy said they were friends. They are friends.

Jeremy’s lips burn where Misha kissed him.

And you? Are you all right? Misha asks.

“I’m happy,” Jeremy says.

Good, Misha echoes. I’m glad.

Misha squirms, eeling down so that his head is resting on Jeremy’s lap. That isn’t where Jeremy would have put him right then, because fuck, but Misha doesn’t seem to notice. Carefully, Jeremy starts to stroke Misha’s hair. Misha sighs heavily and butts into Jeremy’s hand, seeking pets.

Jeremy tells himself that this can be enough.

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