fic: knowing somehow we survived the fall [part ii]
« previous entry | next entry »
Oct. 23rd, 2012 | 10:25 am
Part II: 2008, or The Present: Where The Past Always Catches Up With You
It’s been eight years since he's seen Misha Collins. Eight years since that night where he brought him up to his apartment and eight years since that night where he just might have fallen in love.
Eight years later finds him somewhere completely different. And it's eight years until, while working on a show he's currently starring in, he finds out Misha has also been cast on it.
He finds out about Misha through the usual channels—the usual channels meaning Jared Padalecki.
Supernatural had been an incredible, career changing experience in many ways, but sometimes Jensen thought that none of it meant as much as the friendship he’d found with his co-star, who had, while playing his onscreen brother, become something like a real brother too. Jared was sweet and funny, and, though Jensen actually did have siblings, Jared felt like one he had always been missing until he became Dean Winchester. Fulfilling his role as his honorary sibling, he also supplied Jensen with all the set gossip.
“Did you hear they cast the new guy?” Jared says as Jensen's putting away food in the kitchen they shared.
After nearly four years of working together in close quarters, and spending nearly as much time hanging out together off set as well as on, it seemed like the only natural decision that they room together, too. When Jared offered him a floor in his house, he’d pretty much moved in the next day.
He looks around the door of an open cupboard to prompt Jared to elaborate. “Local?”
Jared moves around Jensen to pluck a box of Oreos out of a shopping bag and begins to open them. “No, out of L.A. I think? Eric didn't say much.”
Jensen rolls his eyes. “Eric never says much.”
Jared chuckles. “Very true,” he tries to say around his cookie. “But anyway, yeah, I think they're shooting episode one scenes with you and him first thing? So you have to tell me how he is.”
Jensen has no doubt whoever they got is entirely competent, but it’s always a toss up as to whether or not their new person will click. “Shooting starts tomorrow, right? Yeah, man, I'll tell you how it goes.”
It goes—well, it goes.
He doesn't actually find out the guy's name until he gets on set, and, even then, he has about 10 minutes in between finding out and their blocking run-through to steal himself for the inevitable.
Because the guy's name is Misha fucking Collins.
It's not that Jensen never expected to run into Misha one of these days. The guy was an actor—still was for all he knew, and a good one at that. They didn't exactly run in the same circles anymore—really, they never did—but Hollywood was a cliché machine in the regard of how often you could run into someone you'd never think you'd see again. And Jensen hadn't for eight years.
Until, rather ironically considering how they had broken up, he finds him in Canada.
When he first sees Misha again, it's almost like nothing has changed: he still sucks the power out of the room and into himself, vibrating with charisma and the glint of a smile at the corner of his mouth—except it's not the same at all.
He looks older, in the best way. Like he grew up, like how Jensen had grown up and into his own skin. Misha could have been mistaken for a teenager the last time Jensen had seen him, all of twenty-five with a point to prove. Now, there's no mistaking that this is a man, rough in ways he never was before, sporting scruff and a rougher voice as he talks to the script supervisor next to him. Jensen can hardly believe it belongs to the same man who used to lightly whisper poetry in his ear as they stole time together in his bed. But it's undeniably him, and for a moment, for a heartbreaking and breathless moment, Jensen almost feels like falling in love again.
The instant he remembers the wonder of that feeling, though, that flood of familiar emotion, he remembers the crushing, aching drought that succeeds it. He remembers, for instance, how dangerous that bright smile can be once you'd do anything to see it. But Jensen’s not that boy anymore, and, looking at Misha, Jensen can see no one is as much changed as he.
His shoulders have filled out since he's last seen him, and although he's still lean and spry more than robust, Jensen can tell he's built up his runner's body. At least, from what Jensen can gather beneath the multiple layers of wardrobe Misha's currently swimming under. Apparently going for the desk-jockey angel look.
Still, he is, if possible, more handsome, which is, surprisingly, something Jensen’s comfortable admitting to himself.
He’s come a long way from the scared kid he’d once been, on the cusp of making his career and desperate to maintain that wholesome Texas image, even at the cost of being honest with himself. Even at the cost of what he had with Misha. But perhaps now, they can make amends.
But first, the inevitable strained hello.
It actually doesn’t go too badly, in that neither of them punch each other or grope each other in the middle of the set, which Jensen considers a considerable victory in self-restraint, because he kind of wants to do both from the minute he sees him.
By the looks of it, Misha's obviously had more time to come to terms with the situation than him, as he's all easy manners while they run through a rehearsal and lighting checks. By the time they get a break before they actually start rolling, Jensen almost doesn't feel weird at all about working with someone who is, effectively, although no one else in the world knows it, his ex.
It only really gets weird when the director says action, because then Misha disappears and Jensen finds an angel standing in front of him.
When Misha becomes Castiel as the camera rolls, it's nothing like they practiced just hours earlier, and half of Dean's surprise and overwhelmed reaction is really Jensen's, because holy shit.
It's not just the voice—okay, it is the voice—but also that Jensen, in the near year that had known Misha, never really saw him act. At all. Their relationship was born outside of work and their respective acting careers, so he guessed they kind of had an unspoken agreement to keep it that way. Jensen knows that Misha was good at a variety of things so he always assumed he was a good actor too, but thinking it and seeing it are two entirely different things. Here, in front of him, Misha transforms into Castiel. It's the only way to describe it.
His voice drops ten registers and drags itself over gravel, and Jensen has no idea what to make of it, which is useful, because Dean Winchester isn't supposed to either. It’s not hard to make Dean look terrified, uncertain, and flustered all in one shot.
Though, Dean Winchester might just look aroused, and that is entirely Jensen’s fault.
When they finish the shoot, Jensen’s still as unsettled as he was when they begun. Except now he’s wrestling with a re-emerging sense of fervent lust that he really hasn’t felt in eight years. This was so not good.
As soon as he’s given permission, he steals away to his trailer to gather his thoughts.
He’s pulled suddenly out of them, however, with a knock at his trailer door about a half hour later. Something churns in his gut as he thinks of who it could possibly be, because he can think of only one person with such horribly awful timing who would come talk to him at a time like this.
He wonders briefly if Misha will think he’s not here, or sleeping, or something, if he waits long enough, but that thought is quickly dismissed. Misha always had a sixth sense about these things.
Jensen gathers himself. He’s better than this, they’re adults, and colleagues no less (although that will never stop sounding strange in his head), and they can talk rationally. Let’s hope.
Jensen gets up slowly and takes a breath before unlocking and opening the door.
Misha’s standing there as anticipated, newly divested of his Castiel trench coat and limp hanging suit. It’s a testament to his acting, Jensen supposes, how undeniably Misha he looks now, standing somewhat awkwardly at Jensen’s step with hair in its usual casual disarray, now sporting jeans and a faded t-shirt, with hands stuffed in his pockets. The last time he’d seen Misha, he’d been a fierce and ferocious presence of an angel.
Echoing the written lines spouted by his character counterpart not hours before, Misha raises his gaze to grab his attention with full force, and opens: “We need to talk.”
He probably should have started with something like “Hi,” or, “It’s nice to see you again,” except nice absolutely doesn’t describe the feeling of what it is to see Misha again, and Jensen was never one for lying to him. No, in terms of their past, he’d was more one to be lying to himself.
Instead, Jensen starts gruffly with, “You’ve, um, changed.” Excellent form, Ackles, he internally chastises.
Misha seems not to notice his awkwardness, however, or maybe he just doesn't care, because he smiles and slips back into their usual banter. “For better or worse?” he jokes, flopping down on the small couch in Jensen’s trailer as if he belongs there. A traitorous part of Jensen’s consciousness whispers that he does. He can do this.
He puts on a winning smile of his own. “Well, you definitely don’t look like you could be mistaken for 18 anymore so... worse?” he volleys back, and Misha laughs--and god, did he miss that sound.
“Mhmm, yeah, you don’t look so well off yourself, it’s like you could almost be thirty,” he says, eyes glinting with mischief and mirth. “Stardom has not been terribly kind, my friend. My sincerest condolences.”
Jensen had always thought Misha looked effortlessly comfortable in his own skin before, but now he sees that might have not been the case. The Misha before him is completely at ease. He’s not pretending, he’s not hyper and eager to please, he just is. And Jensen had once known this part of him--that was the person Misha had always been in their most private moments--but he’d had this conception of Misha in the past as always like that in every venue of his life. He wonders now if he’d had it wrong, if, in the intervening years, as much as Jensen had learned to learn himself, Misha had, too.
He’s surprised by his own ease in which he continues their conversation to something more serious. “So, uh, how are you?” he asks, sitting down across from him in a chair he pulls out from the small table in his trailer’s kitchenette.
“Well, I’m guest starring on a successful sci-fi show opposite a guy I used to fuck, so you could really spin that either way, I think,” Misha answers, and Jensen didn’t expect him to bring it up so quickly.
“And you’re... cool with that?”
Misha looks at him with sympathy. “Jensen, I wouldn’t have auditioned in the first place if I wasn’t. Besides,” he leans back, stretching his arms to lock his hands behind his head. “We’re both consummate professionals, are we not?” And there’s the Misha he had always known.
Jensen smirks. “Well, I am.”
“Touché. I just play one on TV now. Castiel seems pretty professional.”
And now it’s his turn to chuckle. “Professional dick, you mean? You’ve read the next episode too, I’m sure,” he points out. Truth be told Jensen had been wondering what it would be like to act out the last scene of 4.02, even before he’d known he’d be acting it opposite Misha. He wonders how he’s going to be able to cope with Misha borrowing Castiel’s ignorance of personal space.
Not that Misha himself had ever had much conception of that to begin with.
Misha’s eyes flash in playful delight. “Now, that sounds like Dean talking. But yeah, I’ve read it. I get to put the fear of God in you, Jensen Ross Ackles,” he grins, and oh god, not that smile.
That is the smile that’s haunted Jensen’s regrets since he left him. That is the smile that made him feel equal parts petrified and purified. That is the smile of a man named Misha Collins who knows he is adorable.
His heart’s racing in his chest with the adrenaline more suited to a marathon. Screw what he’d thought about growing up to feel settled in his skin, every nerve in his body is on high alert right now, because the man he has arguably been in love with for the last eight years is sitting in front of him.
“You still with, um... Vicki?” he asks some what awkwardly. Very awkwardly.
Jensen’s possession of this name visibly startles Misha. “Oh, um--no, we broke it off a while ago,” he says automatically, like he’s been used to providing people with a quick answer. “Wait,” he shakes himself, confused, “how did you know about her?”
And now for even more awkward admissions. “A couple years ago, after Dark Angel was cancelled and I made it back to L.A. I called you but you’d moved. The guy living there gave me your new number and, when I called it up, she was the voice on the phone, so I assumed...”
Misha’s hands fall from his head to his knees. He rubs his palms on his jeans distractedly. “No uh, yeah, no you assumed correctly. We were engaged even, for a while there.”
Now that is news. A lump settles in Jensen’s throat. “What happened?”Misha smiles to himself. “There was another woman,” he says, startling Jensen into a gape. He’d never thought Misha was one for cheating. Misha spots Jensen’s reaction and hastily clarifies, “She fell in love. And, well, we might have struck up some sort of threesome thing --she definitely offered--but I...” he starts pumping his leg in his fidgeting, “realised I was still in love with someone else, too.”
The hope Jensen had been subconsciously building up crumbles. “Are you and this other chick...?” which causes Misha to actually laugh.
“I love that you would still assume they were a woman.”
“Oh, um, are you and... he?” Jensen corrects. Misha’s gaze falls to his hands on his knees, as if he’s almost shy. How unlike him.
“No, I haven’t seen him in awhile,” he says, quietly.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” and, despite his unavoidable simmering jealousy, Jensen really is. He does want Misha to be happy.
“I didn’t know you’d come back to see me,” Misha says.
Jensen’s quick abandonment of his attempt at reparation with that one phone call had kind of assured that. “Yeah. Would it have changed anything, though?” he asks.
Misha tilts his head in a way scarily like his new character. “It might have.”
But that in there was the reason, ‘might’. “I don't know if I'm at an age where I have any use for maybes,” he replies, hoping Misha understands what he means by that. I thought you would have rejected me.
Their conversation peters out into amiable silence after that, picking up at different intervals with tiny bits of news of what they’ve each been up too. At a certain point, they both realise they’ve been sitting in this trailer for several hours, and it’s hitting 10 P.M. They both should be getting some sleep, as neither have gotten actual rest in something close to 20 hours. Jensen doesn’t feel as tired as he thinks he should though.
Misha turns to him once more as he’s about to leave. “You've grown up.”
“Oh, um, thank you?”
“No, I mean it, you've--” Misha waves a hand around as if that explains it. “You've grown. You became want you wanted—more than what you wanted. Being settled suits you.”
For the next several weeks of the season 4 shoot, Misha’s only on set on and off. Even with the episodes Castiel the angel is in, Misha’s not in nearly the same amount of scenes as him or Jared, so he has quite a bit more time to himself. Jensen would feel a bit jealous, except for the fact that he really gets a kick out of Misha coming back to work with stories. For instance, his completely rained out camping trip in the back woods of Vancouver Island where he somehow managed to stumble across a couple of similarly stranded German tourists and they all got trashed together. The story becomes very graphic after that. As expected, Jared loves him.
And whatever kind of relationship they’ve struck up now, it’s something entirely new, because in all the time Jensen’s known Misha, they’ve never been just friends. From the first moment he’d met him they’d been dancing around something, after all, but now, although Jensen still wakes up at night from wet dreams of Misha’s thighs around him, they’ve got all this space between them that’s actually kind of comfortable.
It isn’t until they are a couple days into their shoot of episode 7 that Jensen realises this space between them, while a content space, is a bit too much. He likes being Misha’s friend, obviously, he’s funny and eccentric and he gets a long great with Jared (if Jensen didn’t suspect Jared of having a serious crush on that girl Genevieve he might be a little jealous), but he misses being close with him. He misses Misha being in his space more and more.
It’s hard playing Dean and Cas, who are also gravitating around each other, inching closer and closer but tragically never closing the distance. Jensen really starts feeling sorry for Dean, because at least he had once known what it felt like to finally touch the person you were confusingly but absurdly attracted to. Although he and Dean are both in the blue balls boat right now.
Like Dean and Cas, however, Jensen and Misha are slowly but surely stuttering towards the inevitable conclusion.
It all mercifully comes to a head on a Thursday evening. But first, in somewhat of a tradition, they have dinner.
They have dinner with a lot of people actually. A whole bunch of them go out after a long day of shooting. It’s fun and loose and, when it’s over, Jensen thinks, even if he never kisses Misha again, he’s glad he has him back in his life. He really hopes he gets to kiss Misha again, though.
It’s Jared who invites Misha back to the house for drinks. When Jensen looks at him strangely, the dude winks, like he knows. Jensen blushes, and vows to tell Gen about Jared’s ridiculous crush.
Later, he also vows to buy Jared a million drinks to last him a lifetime, because whatever Jared’s plan was, it’s kind of a success.Misha comes over, and they crack open some beers and kick back and it’s nice, really. It’s nice because, for another good two hours, Jensen’s graced with the sight of Misha’s lips wrapped around the head of a beer bottle in a hilariously phallic fashion (Jensen suspects Misha is making those sucking sounds whenever he takes a swig on purpose). It gets even better when Jared smoothly excuses himself to go to bed, leaving Jensen and Misha alone in the living room with entirely too much couch space between them.
Jensen makes some joke that he can hardly remember later, already a bit buzzed from all the alcohol and the nervous twitch the shine of Misha’s eyes sends through his veins (definitely a bit buzzed). Misha laughs, nose-scrunching and eyes crinkling in a way that lights up his face with an all encompassing kind of mirth that is almost too hard to bear without kissing him.
So Jensen doesn’t try.
He misses slightly, maybe subconsciously on purpose, hitting the corner of Misha’s mouth first. Once there’s finally skin on skin, he finds he cannot stop. From the enthusiastic hum emerging from Misha’s own throat, it seems the other man is rather in agreement.
Misha’s skin feels like everything he’d remembered. It’s smooth and soft--but rough in new ways too, aged like the timbre of his voice into something even more savoury. It feels every bit like something he wants to sink his teeth into, to sink himself into, to get lost in the feeling of Misha’s skin on his if only he could get close enough, some barrier of constricting flesh would break.
“I think you just contradicted yourself,” Misha breathes out finally, pulling away slightly for air.
"Hmm?" Jensen hums distractedly, mind still engaged in an endless mantra of Misha's lips.
"You're 'not gay', remember? I hate to break it to you--no, I'd love to break it to you--but that kiss was textbook gay. A+ I'd say, if I were grading."
Jensen huffs almost shyly. "Yeah, I guess it was," he says finally, raising his gaze from where it had been fixated on Misha's mouth to meet the other's stare, almost as a challenge. "Objections?"
"Only one. You stopped,” Misha teases as he licks his lips. Jensen doesn’t need an invitation twice.
Claiming Misha’s lips again feels like coming home in a sense, if home were the mouth of a man so elusively charismatic and impossible that Jensen doesn’t always know if he feels annoyance or attraction. It’s probably something of both. But there is no denying the way his skin alights when Misha cups his jaw and rubs his thumb along his cheek. Nor the way his whole body leans into the press of Misha’s thigh against his in a promise of friction he is desperate to chase.
“This would probably be more enjoyable with fewer clothes,” Misha suggests, voice even deeper than it has the audacity to sound like the rest of the time, approaching Castiel-like levels of huskiness to the point that Jensen idly wonders how Dean isn’t written as perpetually turned on in their scenes together. Any mental note to advise Kripke on that state of affairs is, however, pushed backward in favour of revelling in the feeling of Misha’s hands dipping under his shirt and drawing his fingers across the expanse of his back as his muscles flex under them.
“I don’t,” Jensen starts in between kisses along the base of Misha’s neck. “I don’t have any stuff--”
“Don’t worry,” Misha cuts him off, unbuckling Jensen’s belt as he tilts his head to whisper in his ear. “Right now, I just want to make you come from my hands alone.” That’s when all reservations Jensen might have still harboured are kindly dismissed.
Shucking his own shirt as quickly as possible--as Misha swiftly does the same--they collapse back onto the sofa, Jensen practically in Misha's lap.
“I hate to be a teenage boy about this,” Misha says in between kisses. “But you, Jensen Ackles, got hot.”
Jensen laughs into the skin at Misha’s throat. “Are you saying I wasn't hot before?”
“No, you definitely were. All-American dream, remember? You've just undergone some, ah--” he hisses as Jensen nips at the bottom of his jaw, “improvements.”
Hands mapping the expanse of Misha’s torso he says, “I could say the same for you.”
“I am a handsome devil,” Misha agrees as Jensen nips at his jaw while his hands move down to unbuckle Misha’s belt.
“I thought you were an angel?”
Misha laughs again, and captures Jensen’s face between his hands. “Have you not done your research? The devil is an angel.”
“Still the devil, though,” Jensen says, and finds Misha’s lips again, causing Misha to hum happily.
“One that will lead you to sin.”
Jensen licks around the lobe of Misha’s ear as he whispers, “Oh, I hope so.”
There is less occasion for flirting after that, as their mouths are otherwise occupied with more delicious exploits. It’s altogether almost too much to bear, the brilliant sensation of skin on skin. It’s almost too much to bare as well. Despite creating an oxymoron in thinking it, he no longer feels naked anymore like he once did. To be laid bare on top of Misha is not to be stripped of something, of some mask or cloak or excuse he tells himself, but to find something new to curl into.
Hearts catch on the hitch of their breaths as their mouths find requital in the burn of their bodies. It’s almost too slow, like the years of their climbing towards this climactic catharsis, like the perfect agony of Misha’s hand on his chest as it moves slowly downwards.
Shirts having found a new home on the floor, Misha lies back to press his head against the last remaining throw pillow that they hadn’t already managed to kick off in all their fervour. Jensen takes in the sight as he straddles Misha’s hips and balances himself above him on the too-small sofa.
“I missed this,” he admits. And he really, really did. Oh god, he'smissed him, like he's scarcely missed anyone, or anything—it's a feeling rooted deep down in his chest, an ache blossoming with every breath. And it's foolish, and meaningless now when he has Misha's own rising chest beneath his palms, heart just below his fingers, but something in him almost wants to cry with disbelief.
Misha pulls him by the waist to crush them chest to chest, kissing him fondly before reciprocating with a “same here”. The motion is a bit too jerky, and Jensen can’t help but laugh in a sort of delirious relief, the sound vibrating through Misha’s ribs.
“Up,” Jensen finally orders, pressing his fingers into Misha’s hips. Misha lifts them so he can shimmy his jeans downwards, and, once he does, Jensen presses the heel of his palm into Misha’s erection through his underwear, garnering him a satisfying hiss from the man beneath him.
Jensen soon divests himself of his own pants, moving as fast as his muscles can possibly allow, and trying not to falter at the fist of Misha’s hand now pulling at his hair. He reclaims his place at Misha’s mouth soon after. It’s only when the strain of his own briefs between them reminds him they are still not completely naked, that Jensen decides fuck it,and grinds their cocks together anyway. He’s rewarded by another sweet sound from Misha’s frankly pornographic mouth.
As Jensen makes his way across Misha’s clavicle with the talents of his tongue, Misha reaches down to push at Jensen’s underwear past the curve of his ass, just enough to free his cock. He cups Jensen’s balls with his delicate fingers before moving back up to grab a hold of his shaft. Their breaths become more and more desperate as Jensen mirrors the same, bumping into Misha’s hand as his fists his around Misha’s newly freed erection as they both begin to pump.
Maybe it’s a testament to how much they need this, or how much their muscle memory never fails them, because they both remember the perfect twists of the wrist and pulls to get each other off.
So it’s slow, but it’s fast too. Fast like the thirst of their lips and the grind of their hips. Fast like the gasp of their names as the shortened syllables ring in the room. Fast in the way that it would be over too fast, but also in the way that their heartbeats raced and their eyes fluttered closed at final release.
God, he really fucking missed this.
“You’re nothing like you used to be,” Misha says quietly, after.
“You’re not either,” Jensen replies.
They never really did this before, the tenderness. Or maybe they had, Jensen’s memory of that year having been marred by how painfully it had ended. He almost has no idea why they’re doing this now, except... it feels good, it feels right, and Jensen’s tired of hiding behind himself, refusing the very things he wants most. He curls a hand around Misha’s ear as he brushes the now sweaty brown hair behind it when an idle thought occurs to him. “You used to be blonder, didn’t you?”
Misha chuckles. “I used to be a lot of things.”
He did, too. Jensen’s grateful for the change.
It's not necessarily easy, and maybe their mistake the first time was thinking that it was. They still get on each other's nerves, they have their bickering and their arguments, but somehow, staggeringly, they’ve landed themselves into a mature relationship just in time for Misha to be asked if he wants to expand his contract.
“I--” Misha begins one afternoon, unsure of how to continue. “They want to make me a regular,” he finally blurts out, eyes wide as if he's surprised the words he just uttered were even true.
“What did you say?” Jensen asks without reaction, because he can't allow it yet until he knows.
Misha shifts himself before standing up squarely. “I said yes,” he answers, and relief floods through Jensen's chest, and Misha must see it too, because at Jensen's reaction he visibly relaxes.
“So you’re sticking around then?”
The corners of Misha’s mouth quirk. “Yeah,” and then there’s that Cas-like head tilt, or maybe by now Jensen should be calling Cas’ mannerisms Misha-like. “Are you?” he asks back, only half-joking.
And Jensen smiles, a grateful feeling blossoming in his chest. Smiling was always so simple with him. “Yeah.”
They were totally a Meg Ryan movie.