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19 June 2011 @ 07:29 pm
Fic - M - Misfits - Nathan - Science of Fear (7/11)  
Title: Science of Fear (7/11)
Rating: M - next chapter NC-17
Fandom: Misfits
Pairing: Simon/Nathan
Genre: Angst/Drama/Hurt/Comfort. All the squishy things that I love.
Spoilers: Yes. Both seasons.
Word Count: 4500 ish
Warnings: Rape, and the general crudity of Nathan and overal grittiness of Misfits.

Summary: Nathan finally finds employment only to find out that his boss was also affected by the storm, and his immortality can't save him this time.

Timeline: Set a few months after they’ve finished their community service, but before the events of the Christmas episode. Marnie doesn’t exist, Simon and Alisha are not together, though they do have some history. Simon is NOT aware of ‘Future-Simon,’ but lives in Future-Simon’s pad after Alisha showed it to him (and cleaning a lot of it out) and telling him that Superhoodie lived there.

Author's Note: Reviews are all kinds of love.

part 01
part 02
part 03
part 04
part 05
part 06


It takes a lot of convincing, but eventually Simon manages to get Nathan to agree to see three of the exorcists that he’s shortlisted after researching them. It’s the longest conversation they’ve had in half a day, because Nathan isn’t in the mood to talk and Simon isn’t one for generating conversation.

Nathan can’t stop thinking about the look on Curtis’ face after he’d just rewound time, after he’d prevented Nathan from living through something he won’t ever be able to remember happening. The complete backpedalling in Curtis’ attitude, the way he stopped joking about it, even the way he restrained his temper, it all speaks of a future where Nathan freaks people out for reasons that aren’t made of greatness or heroics.

He tries to ignore how all their expressions made him feel, when they thought he wasn’t looking, the concern they directed his way. Not concern like; ‘oh my god I can’t believe you just made another pedophile joke what the fuck is wrong with you,’ but the genuine, ‘no, really, what is wrong with you, can we help?’ concern. Nathan hates it. He always has. What good has it ever done for him? How has it ever stopped any of the inevitable madness from happening in his life? Concern only starts to feel good after he’s had a few beers, and maybe some ecstacy, and then it just rolls into a glorious ball of good-naturedness.

This is an entirely different creature to deal with, and Nathan – usually excited about feeling out of his depth – feels completely at a loss.

*

The first advertises herself as a mystic, and it’s true that Anne Whitewolf Grable has a phenomenal amount of testimonials on her website that all seem to point towards her being a competent exorcist and healer and spirit talker and white lighter and all the other things she lists herself as. They find the right buses to take, and get there in silence. Nathan stares blankly at the footpath as they walk towards her building. He just doesn’t know what to expect. Will it hurt? Will it even work? What if the ritual summons Fagin into the room?

He doesn’t even want to think about that, but his brain has other ideas. Every scenario is awful, and his deepest fears involve Fagin coming back to life, or worse; learning how to touch people as a ghost, forever continuing the only rollercoaster ride that Nathan had ever wanted to exit.

He heard himself breathe in and out, shakily. He hadn’t known he was that frightened until he could hear it out loud, and then he felt his heart jumping and fluttering behind his sternum, his hands were clenched into fists.

‘I hope this works.’ Simon says, just about the first thing he’s said all day that isn’t to do with getting the right timetable or looking things up on GPS or the small conversation he had with Curtis and Alisha at the cafe. Nathan looks at him, but Simon has his eyes fixed on the deep violet cladding on the building in front of them. Nathan sees it and wants to laugh, it looks like every new-ager’s wet dream. He can’t imagine it working. And yet he’s terrified to imagine a life where it doesn’t.

‘I should be saying something extremely insightful about now, or hilarious, or filthy, or all three.’ Nathan says, and Simon looks at him. His brow is furrowed, his mouth is thinned.

‘I know.’

‘You probably prefer me this way, don’t you, you silence-loving pervert?’ Nathan hopes it sounds more antagonistic and less insecure than he thinks it did.

‘No. I don’t prefer that anyone I care about go through what you’re going through.’

‘That’s not what I meant and you know it.’ Nathan says, wringing his hands together briefly as Simon knocks on the door, as they wait on the front steps.

Simon opens his mouth to say something, but the door opens and a middle-aged woman with immaculately styled brown hair waves them in. Waves of incense waft over them as they enter and Simon coughs discreetly under his hand. There are at least twenty fat candles lit and leaking their dim, yellow light in strategic corners of the room. The office has a plush crimson carpet, a large circular desk with candle-wax stains on it, armchairs, some shelving that holds different items; crystals, Native American figurines, bells and disks of clay, things that Nathan’s never seen before. He wanders over to the shelves while Simon introduces them both to Anne the Mystic. Anne the Mystic who is from East Shropshire and offers them some chamomile tea to settle their nerves (they decline). Nathan looks up and sees a lot of windchimes hanging from the midnight-blue ceiling, all with little price tags on them. He wonders if this makes Anne more or less legitimate.

He startles when Anne places a hand on his shoulder, he realises that he must have zoned out of the conversation at some point.

‘So dear, let’s stop pithering about then, I hear you’re in a spot of bother and need a blessed spirit to stop making your life a bit of a mess?’

‘Blessed spirit?’ Nathan says, with a laugh. ‘No, I think you must have misheard, I have a fucked up sadistic pervert ghost that needs to be kicked up the proverbial ass and dumped in whatever layer of hell he deserves to be in. If you could just get right on that so I can get back to my life of fucking and winning, we’ll be roses.’

Anne makes a face at him, and then shakes her head and brings her palms together in front of her chest.

‘I forgive you for not having compassion in your heart. I will have compassion enough for all of us.’ She raises her touching palms to her forehead, and closes her eyes, while Nathan and Simon share a deeply sceptical look.

Nathan steps back when she starts making a deep, guttural humming sound in the back of her mouth, and he braces himself against the shelving unit, feeling like if this does work, shit’s about to get real. His breathing comes faster and faster, and he swallows repeatedly around a lump in a throat that refuses to go away.

When she opens her eyes, unseeing, to the room around her, his skin crawls. And then suddenly she looks somewhere behind his left shoulder and gasps.

‘There! There he is! I see him!’

Nathan whirls around and ignores the humiliating sound that forces itself out of his throat. But there’s no one there. It’s just an empty patch of carpet, a wall with a picture of unicorns on it, a cross-stitched placard saying ‘Blessed Be’ hanging on a shuttered window. Fagin’s not there.

‘No, he’s not.’ Nathan gasps.

‘You must believe in the power of the spirits!’ Anne says, in an otherworldly voice, stepping inexorably towards the empty space, staring at a figure that Nathan can’t see at all. He squints even harder, and still can’t see anything. He steps backwards towards Simon and frowns at Anne interacting with the empty space by waving her hands slowly and fluidly all around it.

‘He’s really not there.’ Nathan says under his breath, to Simon.

Anne is whispering under her breath at whatever she thinks is there, and it sounds very convincing, and Nathan is pretty sure that if he was anyone else, he’d be buying it. But he’s not buying it, because Fagin’s not there. Because if Fagin could just appear like that, he’d have just popped into the hotel room. Nathan shivers and reaches up to scratch at the back of his head.

‘I release you in love and light!’ Anne shouts, and Simon sighs.

‘She’s a charlatan.’ He says. Anne stiffens when she hears that, but ignores them and continues to make fluid, mystical shapes with her hands and arms.

‘Maybe they all are. Maybe no one can help. Maybe they’re all full of it. Do you really think there’s a chance someone can help?’

Simon looks pensive, and then shrugs.

‘You have the ability to see dead people. There has to be at least one person out there with the ability to get rid of them. It makes sense as a theory. I’m not giving up.’

‘Sure,’ Nathan says, not really believing any of it, but hanging onto Simon’s hope and trying to cradle it somewhere safe inside of him. There’s something about the pragmatism of Simon that makes him feel more soothed than just hearing bland reassurances from people who don’t know how to fix the situation. Simon has a plan, he has a to do list, he seems to know what he’s doing.

He ignores the fact that Simon created this situation in the first place by killing the douche.

He ignores the other fact that actually he, Nathan, created the situation in the first place by being so desperate for attention he brought this all on himself.

‘Well, I’m sure you think you’ve made a tasty little profit,’ Nathan said as Anne turned slowly to face them, ‘but the only thing you gave us was an insight into your pilates workout, so if you’ll excuse us, we have real exorcists to see.’

She glares at them as they walk past her, and mutters at Simon; ‘I shall be sending you an invoice.’

‘I understand,’ Simon says, ‘you’ll invoice for time wasted. I’m looking forward to it.’

And then he joins Nathan, and they both walk out together. Simon looks at his GPS and then starts walking decisively back the way they came. Nathan follows, shoves his hands into his pockets, and tries to deal with the mess of his thoughts in his head by not thinking about anything at all.

*

The second exorcist is a gentleman wearing long, white robes. He waves them into a lounge-room decorated mostly in violet and olive green, but instead of offering them mystical support, he just shakes his head at them and stands in front of them, searching for the right words. He doesn’t seem mystical. He seems like a man who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in a while.

‘You didn’t give me a contact number, otherwise I would’ve called. I’m retiring from the business, y’see. Ever since the storm, people have been coming to me with problems like...like yours, and I can’t help them.’

He pauses and looks up at the ceiling for some kind of invisible assistance.

‘I’m starting to think I never knew what I was doing.’

‘That must be disappointing.’ Simon says, with genuine empathy, and the man nods and folds his arms.

‘So you see I can’t help you. I wish I could. A few months ago I would’ve been sure I had. But things are different now, and I’ve decided that rather than let some more people down, I’m just going to retire. Maybe go back to my watercolours. I used to be quite good when I was younger.’

‘Right.’ Nathan says, feeling disappointed, even though he knows it wasn’t likely to have worked anyway.

‘I know, I’m really very sorry. I’m terribly sorry to have wasted your time like this. I wish you the best of luck, though.’

‘Do you...do you know anyone who could help us?’ Simon says, and he brings some folded papers out of his pocket and hands them over. The man looks through them and makes small sounds under his breath. They all sound disapproving. He looks at the second sheet of paper and then points at a name.

‘Her. I’m pretty sure she can give you what you’re looking for. She works at Caster, Fletcher and Wright. You know it?’

‘The big accounting building? ’ Nathan says.

‘Amy Wright?’ Simon says, uncertainly, reading out the name again, his eyebrows rising.

‘That’s the one. Amy Wright, big accounting building. She’s probably not what you’d expect, but sometimes they’re the best ones right? Don’t judge a book by its cover and all that. Well, if you don’t mind, I’m off to the art store to stock up on some Cadmium yellow. Good luck and all. Wish you the best.’

He hurriedly escorted them out, picking up some house-keys along the way. Nathan wanted to say something about the white robes, but the words and the humour weren’t coming together. Not more than ten seconds later they were standing on the street watching the man walk away from them, whistling jauntily under his breath.

‘I think I’m going to have to call and make an appointment, for this one.’ Simon says, getting out his phone and dialling in the number. He moves away and books a quick appointment, which is surprisingly easy to get, and then turns back and offers a half-smile. Nathan glares at him.

‘I don’t know what you’re looking so cheerful about, if this doesn’t work, I’ve got Fagin following me around for the rest of our eternal lives together. Until he gets bored anyway. And he doesn’t seem like the type to get bored. He seems like one of those fixate, obsessive, beat me to death a few more thousand times types.’

Simon’s half-smile fades, and instead he points in the direction they need to take, and they both set off down the street again.

*

In the elevator, riding up to the fifteenth floor, Nathan is fiddling with his hair in the reflection of the mirrors all around them.

‘Why did you kiss me back?’ He says, and Simon leans against the mirror and looks down at his hands.

‘I wanted to.’

‘Aw, liddle Simon has a liddle crush on me! It’s adorable, seriously, with your...steely expression and your...shoulders. But...I’m missing something. Help me out here. Why was it meant to be obvious? What was obvious about it?’

The elevator slows to a halt and the doors slide open. Two businessmen step in, holding briefcases. Simon steps out and Nathan follows. They’re in a long corridor tastefully decorated, potted plants that are actually alive and not plastic facsimiles bend their dark green leaves healthily in the light. There are many offices up here, and Simon looks around before seeing the one with Amy Wright’s name on it. Underneath her name, in squat capitals, the word DIRECTOR rests.

‘I’d feel like Mister White Robes would be having us on if it wasn’t for the fact that she actually gave us an appointment.’ Nathan says, and then he waits to see if Simon will say anything about the kiss. But he doesn’t. Simon ignores it and walks towards the door like he does this kind of thing all the time. Like it isn’t scaring the crap out of him. For someone so awkward amongst his peers, Simon has adapts remarkably well to everything else that life throws at him. Nathan wonders if he can steal some of that, since he seems to be on low supply.

Amy shakes their hands firmly, introduces herself, waves them in to sit down in front of a large desk. They both take the wooden chairs provided and Simon seems awestruck at the amount of huge, bound books resting behind her in large, wooden bookshelves. To the right are several filing cabinets. The computer on her desk has a massive screen that would be perfect for watching porn, or dealing with being the Director of an accounting firm.

‘Yeah, I know right?’ She says, looking at them with a wry smile. She searches the room around them both and then sits down in her own plush swivel chair. ‘Well. I’m going to tell you how it works on my end, and then you can tell me if that works for you. Okay?’

Simon nods, and Nathan’s head jerks once, in assent. He has no idea what to expect.

‘As your ghostly friend hasn’t come with you, I guess you’ve given them the dodge for now. Understandable, really, but I can’t do my thing without the ghost in the room. I don’t know why it works that way, but that’s the way it is. I need you to book me for a longer consultation, and I’ll come with you to wherever you think they might be. Is it a relative?’ She says suddenly.

‘No.’ Nathan says, shocked at how matter-of-fact she is. There’s nothing mystical about this at all.

‘That’s good, that makes it a bit easier. Because I’m not guaranteeing anything, you see. It doesn’t always work. It just mostly works. Ever since the storm, I seem to have developed this knack of getting rid of things that people don’t want in their lives. In my work as an accountant, that’s pretty handy. But it had this weird knock on effect with the dead. I mean, I didn’t even believe in ghosts, yeah? So much for that! How long has the ghost been a member of the hurry-up-and-depart-already for?’ She adds, and Simon swallows.

‘A few days.’

‘Good. That’s very good. The less time there is between the death and me doing my shit, the better. I have to warn you though, I’d prefer to be booked sooner rather than later. Okay? Early...’ she goes to her computer and has a look, ‘...tomorrow morning, or the morning after. I can do that. Okay? I can clear some of my schedule. I know how shitty some of these things can be, so I’ve decided to make it a bit more of a priority.’

‘How much do you ch-charge?’ Simon said, and she shook her head and laughed.

‘Are you serious? Look at where I work. You should see my car! Call this a pro bono case. You look like you need it.’

‘I have to be in the same room with him?’ Nathan says, trying to sort everything out in his head and failing. She sounds like the real deal, but the real deal is telling them that it might not work, that he has to be in the same room with Fagin. What if it doesn’t work? What if it doesn’t work and then Fagin knows where he is? ‘Can’t you just...’ he flutters his fingers, ‘without him?’

‘No.’ She says abruptly, and then her expression softens. ‘Look, the people that come to me, all their ghosts are douches for different reasons. They’re desperate. So I know you’re desperate and I know yours is a douche too. But I can’t do it without you there. Without him there. I wish it didn’t work that way. Trust me. I’ve met some truly craptacular ghosts.’

‘I just...’ Nathan trails off. He can’t handle this. He can’t. There’s some voice in his head scrambling to tell him that this could work, it just needs to work once and then it’s done. Fagin is gone. He can move on from the whole horrible experience and put it behind him. But the idea of deliberately seeking out Fagin’s location makes acid rise in the back of his throat. He stands up abruptly and then walks out of the room, ignoring Simon trying to get him to stay, ignoring everything. He closes the door behind him and then leans against a patch of wall, trying not to hyperventilate and mostly failing.

An elderly man in a crisp suit exits his office and looks at him a moment, Nathan thinks the guy might escort him out of the building, but eventually the gentleman just winks.

‘Accounting is a pretty stressful business!’ He says.

Nathan presses harder into the wall, to stop the trembling that’s starting to radiate from his arms and hands into the rest of his body.

‘You’re telling me!’

He watches as the man steps into the elevator and then disappears. He closes his eyes, bites the inside of his cheek and then winces, starts swallowing the slow ooze of blood down the back of his throat. He’s starting to think the inside of his mouth will never heal. But of course it will. He’s going to live forever. He closes his eyes and tilts his head back until it hits the wood panelling. Real wood too, not wood veneer. The whole place smells faintly of polish.

The door opens and closes again and he tries to straighten up to face Simon, but can’t seem to manage. He sags a little more against the panelling.

‘It’s our only option. And if she was affected by the storm...she’s like us. She can probably do it. No one would expect us to be able to do the things we can do.’ Simon says, his voice gentle, the words pragmatic. His hand reaches out and they both pretend that Nathan doesn’t flinch as Simon takes him carefully by the forearm and indicates that he wants them both to go into the elevator. Nathan follows and thinks that he might be having a couple of decades worth of breakdowns in a single week.

In the elevator, Nathan looks away from his expression reflected back to him in the mirrors, which is strained and even paler than usual.

‘I kissed you because I like you.’ Simon says, like they’ve been in the elevator the entire time.

‘Of course you do, the list of reasons to like me are endless.’ Nathan says, but the tone is flat, and the joke sounds more like a self-deprecating insult than anything else. He tells himself to pull it together, but he shakes his head, like his body has other ideas. Like it’s telling him that it’s going to throw itself into despair and all those hideous emotions whether he’s coming or not. Usually he likes this quality about himself. It’s the same quality that says, ‘oh fuck it, let’s do it already’ when it comes to taking another pill, having another shot, making glorious, wet love with the two girls in the paddling pool filled with jelly.

‘I made an appointment with the accountant for tomorrow morning. I thought the sooner we got it out of the way, the better.’

‘Tomorrow? In less than 24 hours tomorrow? That tomorrow?’ Nathan looks up. ‘Jesus, you can’t be serious.’

Simon can’t seem to think of anything to say, and just as the elevator slides to a halt, Nathan grasps at the railing.

‘I don’t know about you but, I don’t see me going through with it. I’d like to say that I’d found some inner well of strength in the past few days, but I’m going to claim cowardice and I think I’ll just skip it. I’m going to discover my inner piker.’

The doors slide open and Nathan propels himself forward, a sour taste in his mouth. He wraps a hand around his torso and winces when his fingers claw into his ribs. He disengages them with some effort and forces his arms to hang down his side, he even swings them a little, tries to find some swagger. He’s going to try the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ method. He thinks he’ll have try pretty hard not to think about the exorcism, but it turns out he doesn’t need to make any effort at all, his brain lets him vague out, and for a short while at least, he forgets about everything except the feel of his feet hitting the pavement and the presence of Simon beside him.

*

They are getting ready for bed, and Nathan is pacing without knowing he’s pacing. Eventually Simon walks in front of him with a vexed look on his face and he stops.

‘What’s your problem?’ Nathan says, more antagonistic than he intends. ‘Sorry. I was in a groove, I had my rhythm going, trust you to bring it all to a grinding halt.’

‘We can do this. Tomorrow. We can do it. But you have to be there. We’re...I’m...I’m trying to help you. I know you’re scared, but-’

‘Scared!?’ Nathan splutters, incredulous, and then he looks up at the ceiling because he doesn’t even know why he’s bothering. Not with the one who knows about the nightmares.

‘I am shitting my fucking pants as we speak.’ Nathan says to the plaster curlicues surrounding the light-fixture.

‘I know you so well now, I can’t tell if it’s a metaphor, or if you need to go to the bathroom. Maybe you are shitting your pants.’ Simon says, and Nathan can hear the faint smile in his voice. He looks back at Simon and shrugs.

‘Anything’s fucking possible.’ He says, but the it’s not jovial, and he sits down on the bed heavily, unwilling to lie down despite tiredness forming a pounding headache in his skull.

‘Will you come tomorrow?’

Nathan shakes his head. He keeps shaking it without really knowing he’s doing it. And then when he knows, he shakes it even more. No, he thinks. No, no, no. He can’t think of anything worse. Fagin as a ghost is somehow creepier than Fagin as a living criminal. Fagin as a ghost, whispering filthy phrases and reminding Nathan of all the things he’d rather forget?

‘I threw up, y’know.’ Nathan said, apropos of nothing. Simon’s brow furrowed and he tilted his head to indicate his confusion.

‘The first time. With Fagin. I threw up.’ He paused, laughed humourlessly. ‘I threw up even before he started. My head was already split open, and I just felt sick. And that was before it got really bad, let me tell you.’

Silence stretched between them, and Nathan passed a hand over his eyes, as though it would help him reset the world.

‘So, in answer to your question, no, I’m not coming tomorrow. I know I should. But I’ve never been very good with ‘shoulds.’ I don’t know about you but, I’m going to keep my head in the sand for a little bit longer. And if you tell anyone about any of this, I swear to god and anything else that matters, I will...’ he trails off, and decides no threat he can think of is adequate. It doesn’t matter anyway, it’s Simon. Simon is not, by nature, a gossip.

‘Wh-what else happened?’ Simon says, and steps back to sit in his armchair. Nathan looks at him in surprise, and is rendered uncomfortable by Simon’s expression; concern and horror and something else all at the same time.

‘You know. You told me yourself. Rape and murder. Twice!’ Nathan says, and Simon purses his lips. Nathan knows this isn’t the answer he’s looking for, he knows now that Simon wants more. A greater commitment to the truth, to opening up, to being vulnerable.

Nathan holds up a hand to stop Simon from saying anything more.

‘Give me a break, already. It’s been a long day. Longer than the piece of snot hanging out of my Gran’s nose.’

Simon makes the appropriate response of disgust, and then snorts under his breath.

‘Alright. But we’re talking about it again.’

‘Don’t bet on it.’ Nathan mumbles under his breath, wonders at what point Simon became someone he could talk to. He lies down and looks up at the ceiling again, and wonders how anyone could ever find the strength to face their douchey ghosts.
 
 
 
flwrpwr_vampyreflwrpwr_vampyre on June 20th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Oh wow. This is one of the best stories I have ever read. And I'm not just saying that, I've read a lot of them and this is brilliant. I've been reading this from the beginning and trying not to cry with not fantastic results. And I actually, in real life, flailed with horror and amazement when Nathan first realized he could see Fagin's ghost. You should be ridiculously proud of yourself and what an amazing writer you are.