7 September 2013
Relationship Talks. In a van. (Takes place directly after and outside of dropping Spencer off at Lucien's.)
<NYC> Micah's TARDIS-Van - Greenwich Village
The TARDIS-van is, unfortunately, not bigger on the inside. It is downright claustrophobic. The general feel is akin to the interior of an ambulance, minus the luxury of space for a stretcher. Instead, there is /stuff/. Like a mad combination of garage, clothier's shop, and storage facility, every inch of space is being put to its most efficient use. There is a single work station at the far side that resembles a workbench bred with a sewing table. Cabinets, bins, and drawers that all latch (or even lock) for secure transport are filled with a plethora of rolls of hook-and-loop materials, sheets of neoprene, sheets of thermoplastic, assorted padding and foam materials, thread of vastly varying thicknesses, collections of metal rods and other metallic trinkets, a large garage-style toolbox, moulds, containers of casting supplies, a heat gun, dozens of types of scissors and shears and razors... It would take /forever/ to catalogue everything.
Jackson is quiet, as he heads back to the van. It takes a moment before the thin veneer of red surrounding him fades, and longer still before the flush that has coloured his cheeks begins to recede as well. He buckles his seatbelt on in silence, fingers fidgeting with the hem of his skirt and his eye focused out the window towards Lucien's house.
More fidget. He smoothes out a pleat of his skirt, then folds it back into place. "-- I'm sorry," finally breaks his silence, though he's still looking out the window.
It takes a moment for Micah to follow Jax into the van, having held the passenger side door open before moving back to the driver's side and hiking himself into the seat. He is in the process of reaching for his seatbelt when Jax speaks. His head cants slightly, regarding Jax with gathered brows. “What? Why? No. I...made that awkward. Weren't the time or place t'be...all of that. Just folks tryin' t'get brunch. I don't even know...how that all came out just then.” He abandons the seatbelt, fingers instead tangling themselves in his hair, scrubbing it into disarray.
"I -- got the kinda feeling Lucien sorta /wanted/ it to --" Jackson's nose wrinkles up, and he turns away from the window to look back at Micah. "-- No, no, I ain't -- apologizin' for what just -- you know, I'm kind of /glad/ for it. I -- I'm sorry because he's --" His hand lifts, glittery nails waving in the direction of Lucien's townhome. "-- Because he's /right/ this is /supposed/ to be a -- a relationship. But I don't --"
His hand falls back to his lap; he takes a long deep breath, and when he speaks again his voice is calmer, the upset bled from it to leave it just quiet. "-- don't feel like half the time I even know. What's going on with you. And I'm sorry for that, it ain't no-ways fair to you."
“He was makin' a really big deal of...I was /really/ worried about Hive. Right on the heels of bein' /really/ worried about Dusk. An' the kinda things you guys put yourselves through for...an' what would happen if he didn't get better'n... Lucien was /there/ t'talk about doin' his brain-fixin' thing an' I kinda unloaded that on him.” Micah's hands slide out of his hair, along the sides of his face, before settling in his lap. “I might not make the best /choices/ in confidants ever.” His brow furrows more deeply as Jax continues. “S'posed to? I don't understand. You didn't do anythin' wrong. I don't... You seem like you're upset with yourself over somethin' an' you didn't /do/ anythin'. /I'm/ not upset with you,” he tries to reassure, but doesn't seem entirely certain of what to grab on to.
“I do! I just...I don't...feel like it's gonna accomplish anythin', I guess? 'Cause you already know how worryin' all these things are. An' you're /already/ worryin' the same things, so...it just seems like...I'd just be makin' you dwell on the things that are already out of our control?” Micah catches the hem of his shirt in his hands, fidgeting with the fabric. “I guess I mostly don't talk t'/any/ of you all about it 'cause it seems like pourin' salt on open wounds. Like, 'Remember how that was really awful? Yeah, I'm worried about how awful it was. An' how it's prob'ly gonna get worse.' I don't wanna /be/ that. Especially not to you.”
"Honey, you /ain't/ -- that, you couldn't possibly be --" Jax's fingers curl down harder. His eye slips closed, for a moment, through one long breath and then another. "How much horrible have I drug you through, this year. All this stress an' chaos an' terrible and it's just been one thing after another. An' you know, it keeps up long enough I start to forget that that /ain't/ what life is just supposed to be like?" His gaze fixes down on his hands, nails digging in against his skin. "But then all this horrible -- it /ain't/ what life's always like. It ain't what /yours/ was like before. And you -- stick with me. Through all of this. An' that kinda terrifies me, you know? There's always this voice in back of my mind telling me how much safer and /saner/ your life would be if I just --"
He swallows, hard. "But staying. Through all this. That's your choice to make and there ain't a day goes by I don't thank God for havin' you in my life still. But the more terrible things get the more you jus' -- stop even talkin' to me about how /you're/ dealing with this all and -- lately there ain't a day goes by neither that I don't --" His words break off, for a moment, eye still fixed downward; eventually he lifts his gaze to settle back on Micah's face. "-- don't look at all the /wonderful/ you bring to my life and wonder what on earth I'm bringing to /yours/ except for a boatload of pain and trouble. I /want/ to be your /partner/, Micah, not jus' -- another thing for you to /take care/ of."
“It's not...it's not /you/, hon. You know that, right? You're not /creatin'/ all this messed-up stuff that the world is throwin' at you. I didn't see it before I moved up here, just from...I guess, where I was before. But, d'you think I /wouldn't/ have, if not for you? I was already...Hive an' Nox, at least, before I really /met/ you. I would've been in this, either way. It ain't like I can just pretend these things ain't goin' on, now that I've seen...” Micah bites down on his lip to stop himself from continuing through a cycle of the same thoughts. His eyes widen, teeth clamping down harder, knuckles clenched to whitening at the direction Jax's speech takes, to that incomplete sentence. He sits quietly, through the rest of the explanation, his expression waxing ever more incredulous.
“Have you /completely/ lost your mind?” Belatedly, Micah clamps a hand over his mouth. “Ohgosh, sorry. I...sorry, I didn't mean for that t'come out that way, it's just. I can't even know. Where y'got the idea that you don't...bring anythin' to... My life, here, before you? Was work. A couple of old friends t'visit from time t'time, an' a couple of people I'd just met. /You/ made this my home. Not just...the place t'stay, though that /is/ nice,” he says through just a wisp of a smile. “It's this amazin' /family/. The boys. An' what you have with these people. An' you just brought me into that like...I fit. Like there was already a space before I got here an' it was just waitin' for me. An' I love you more than anythin'. I can't...when I thought I was gonna lose you, I couldn't even. I couldn't move or think or do anythin' but watch an' hope that somethin' would...” He jams the heels of his hands into his eyes, wiping away the stubborn tears that keep forming there.
Jackson's hands move from his lap to lace fingers together tightly. Then unlace them to return to fidgeting with the hem of his skirt, his brows knitting together. "/Yes/, maybe! I don't know. I definitely -- sometimes feel like I'm losin' my mind but I don't think -- /this/ is a case of crazy. I just --" He breaks off, staring down at his hands for a long moment before he unbuckles his seatbelt, sliding somewhat uncomfortably over the gearshift to press kisses to Micah's cheek. His forehead rests against the side of Micah's head, after this. "You -- fit. So perfectly. Just -- /please/. Don't -- shut me out, I /love/ you. I care about you. You ain't no kinda -- /burden/, honey-honey, knowing how you're feeling -- knowin' what /you/ need, that's -- that's just part of loving you. If I -- promise you that I'll actually /tell/ you when there's too much stress to deal with things sometimes, can you -- promise to actually --"
He lifts his hand to cup the side of Micah's face, thumb brushing at his cheek. "-- talk to me. Help make sure we're lookin' after each /other/ an' not just -- one-sided all the time. Help -- take care'a yourself even a half as much as you're always taking care of everyone /else/. But you kinda need to trust me, honey-honey, that I can make my /own/ decisions about when's too much stress. Because I trust /you/ to make that choice for yourself every day that you stick with us through all this crazy screwed-up /mess/."
A few of those tears do manage to sneak their way down Micah's cheeks at those kisses, the contact of forehead and hand on his face. He sniffs a few times in attempt to stop his breathing from going ragged. “I love you /so/ much. I've just... You're this beautiful, selfless... I've been, I think, tryin' t'/protect/ you however I can. An' I'm just. No good at it. I'm sorry. It's just...hard. Watchin' you an' everyone an' what you all go through an' there's /so/ /little/ I can do about any of it.” His hand reaches up to the back of Jax's neck, pulling him close, perhaps uncomfortably so. “An' I do trust you with...everythin'. I just don't trust...the rest of the world. Or...me...or somethin'. I know you're so strong, I shouldn't feel like I need t'protect you. But I do an' it's selfish an' I'll try t'stop, I promise.”
Micah buries his face in Jax's shoulder, continuing to speak muffled words into the fabric of his T-shirt. “An' /dammit/, I already have t'tell you. About what the twins heard. Why I fell asleep in their room last night. An' it just feels like /that/ kind of thing is enough for me to hurt you with already. But I promise. I'll let you sort all the things for yourself, okay?”
Jax kisses those tears, as they fall, brushing them away with a soft touch of lips. His posture twists slightly, tucking his leg up beneath him in an effort to keep the gear from digging anywhere /too/ uncomfortable. His hand falls down to Micah's neck, fingers threading through the other man's hair. Stroking slowly, as Micah buries his face against Jax's shirt. His other arm curls around Micah's shoulders, just holding him close in silence for a while. "I don't know how I'd've got /through/ these past months without you," he finally says, very quietly. "When the boys got took -- or after Ian --" He lets out a slow breath, his fingers rubbing at the back of Micah's neck. "You do more'n you know, honey-honey."
There is silence, then, again, his arm slowly tightening its grip. "What --" He stops, swallows. "-- The twins? What -- happened. With them."
It takes some time and clearly visible effort for Micah to release his grip on Jax and lift his face from the tear-stained spot on the other man's shoulder. He pulls the bottom corner of his open button-down up to scrub at his eyes, clumping his eyelashes together in the drying saltwater. "They're okay. Nobody hurt 'em or nothin'," he leads with reassurance, before sighing and continuing to the bulk of it. "They ran into the guy from the radio. The one commandin' the soldiers in the sewers. 'Bastian was apparently lookin' for a fencin' club or somethin' for Io...an' this guy happened t'be there an' volunteered t'show 'em around. Challenged 'Bastian to a fencin'...match, or whatever it's called. This guy knew who they were. Said he was from the government an' his /job/ is killin' mutants. Said he plans t'kill /you/. Also started up this completely /fucked-up/ head game where he told them he /wouldn't/ kill you if the boys could convince you t'stop fightin' an' leave. Move back to Georgia, live quiet on a farm. Promised not t'follow."
Micah swallows hard, brushing his hair back out of his eyes. "They were both pretty shaken up. Shane...right t'the point of tears. Didn't seem like he could handle bein' alone, so I had 'em stay in their old room for the night. Sat by their beds for a long while just so's he could fall asleep. I don't even know... Every time I think I can't be surprised by how supremely cruel an' just...messed up these people can be, Jax. They surprise me again."
Even when Micah pulls back, Jackson doesn't quite let go. His grip loosens, but his hand stays rested lightly at the back of Micah's neck. His head tips to the side, resting against the edge of Micah's seat. His expression doesn't change, through Micah's story, but his fingers slowly press down more firmly against Micah's skin.
For a very long while, he is silent. When he does speak, it is only to ask: "Did they get his name?"
Micah shakes his head in reply. “The only thing they said when I asked if he told them who he was, was the bit about workin' for the military an' killin' mutants. I didn't /press/ 'em about rememberin' him mentionin' a name, just 'cause they was so stressed out at the time. Could ask 'em again, but. I don't think so.”
"Okay. If there was a fencing club the -- club would probably know --" Jackson scrapes his teeth across his lip, his expression gone briefly distant in thought. The temperature in his hand is creepying upward; he drops it away from Micah's neck before the climbing heat can be anything more than briefly uncomfortable. There's more silence; he takes slow breaths, and by the time he reaches for Micah's hand again his temperature has settled back down from dangerous to simply feverish. He lifts Micah's hand to his lips, kissing once at the knuckles. "Went after the /boys/ to -- people can be sick." His voice is oddly calm, quiet and very level. "Did you actually get any rest last night?"
“There's prob'ly some way t'weasel the information out of 'em, yeah. I'm sure they're not s'posed t'just /give/ it out.” The increasing temperature and silence from Jax have Micah's worried eyebrows back on. “It was...yeah. T'put 'em in that spot so's they'll blame themselves no matter what happens? S'a special kind of cruelty.” He sighs, watching his hand as Jax brings it to his lips. “I fell asleep eventually. Once Shane was finally out. Couldn't hazard a guess what time it was.”
Jax nods, slowly, pressing his cheek now against Micah's knuckles. "Had a bunch'a errands t'do 'fore work this afternoon but." He closes his eye, just holding Micah's hand still against his face. "I think maybe can we -- just -- go home instead. Ignore the world for a little bit longer. It's --" He blushes, hand squeezing Micah's. "-- just kinda really want to be holding you right now."
Micah laughs a ragged sort of laugh at that. “I think...maybe I could oblige. An' maybe get some of those errands done while you're at work after, if that's okay?” He reaches up to stroke Jax's head, eventually leaning forward to brush a kiss there.
Jax tips his head forward further, butting it up against Micah's collarbone. "-- It was cold this morning and last," he complains in non-sequitur, "I'm going to have to grow my /hair/ back soon. -- On the plus side," he brightens just slightly, "ain't been able to have peacock-coloured hair all summer." His (smooth!) head nuzzles up against Micah's neck. "If y'got time an' it wouldn't be too much bother, that'd be a help." His arm curls around Micah's waist, squeezing the other man close and tight. "We won't let him --" he starts, but this just breaks off into a shaky breath. "I love you."
The headbutt earns another series of kisses along Jax's scalp. "Means autumn's comin'. I like autumn." A smile brightens across his features as the illusionist starts to discuss hairstyles. "I like you with hair. Also like you without hair." Micah finishes pulling Jax most of the way into his own seat, sort of awkwardly dragging him away from the gearshift and /hopefully/ not jabbing him into the steering wheel. At least the large van has a relatively spacious front seating area? "Not a problem. Just make me a list an' I'll get t'whatever I can before things close up." He wraps his arms tighter at that half-sentence, tighter still at the shaky breath that follows. "Love you, too, hon. So much."