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09 October 2011 @ 07:19 pm
Fic - NC-17 - Misfits - Nathan - Science of Fear (10/12)  
Title: Science of Fear (10/12)
Rating: overall NC-17 - this chapter PG-13
Fandom: Misfits
Pairing: Simon/Nathan
Genre: Angst/Drama/Hurt/Comfort. All the squishy things that I love.
Spoilers: Yes. Both seasons.
Word Count: 4100 ish
Warnings: Overall: Rape references, and the general crudity of Nathan and overal grittiness of Misfits. Oh, and some sexytimes.

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: This story will be extended by at least one chapter, I've decided. :) Reviews are love. Seriously.

part 01
part 02
part 03
part 04
part 05
part 06
part 07
part 08
part 09


Nathan stares up at the ceiling, Simon’s mattress beneath him. The fluorescents burn overhead and in the kitchen area Simon is making some toast. He’d gone for an hour to pick up his stuff, pay the hotel extra to cover for any damages they might have inadvertently left behind. Nathan had wanted to protest and ask him to stay, but after his marathon sobbing session it was hard to talk at all. In the end Simon had coaxed him to lie down on the bed and Nathan hadn’t moved since. He was all floaty and blank, and it was not unlike how he started to feel a few weeks into lying in a coffin in the dark. Dimly, he realises this might mean that being buried alive has probably impacted him more than he originally thought it did.

The mattress weight leans as Simon sits down next to him.

‘Are you hungry?’ He says, his voice soft and low. Nathan imagines shaking his head, but the energy to do just that seems so immense he lies there hardly blinking. He stares up at the ceiling.

Simon puts the toast on the floor and then stands up and walks around to the other side of the mattress. He pauses, and then gets on the bed, and ends up lying on his side next to Nathan who can feel the weight of his gaze on his face. It feels like an anvil.

‘Even your breakdowns are spectacular.’ Simon says. He reaches out a hand and threads some fingers delicately through Nathan’s hair. At this, Nathan closes his eyes and wonders why he isn’t sleeping. He is so exhausted.

‘I’m not better.’ He manages, his voice thick, sounding like he sounded when he had the flu. The fingers moving through his hair don’t pause, and Nathan has no idea how much time passes between his stating the obvious and Simon’s response.

‘There was a boy...in the facility. You know, when I was...you would call it m-mental. He wasn’t really a boy, I suppose, he was our age. His parents didn’t want him, and the first foster home he went to seemed like a dream come true. Parents who really loved him. And he needed that. I mean, he n-needed it. And it turned out that they were just setting him up to be used by them. You know. Sexually. And he ended up in the facility.’

‘This is such a happy story.’ Nathan says, but his sarcasm comes out flat and lifeless.

‘It’s not a happy story. I think I’m trying to say that it doesn’t get better just because you get away from the people who hurt you. It’s not like that.’

‘Well, I don’t know about you, but,’ Nathan pauses, takes a huge breath, ‘fuck that shit.’ He rolls away from Simon with the last of his energy and brings his knees up to his chest.

‘Why don’t you try and get some sleep? I mean I know it’s early, but...I think you need it.’ Nathan casts his mind around and realises it’s only been a few hours at most since Fagin was banished. Less than twelve since he got a mind-shattering blowjob from Simon. Time suddenly seems utterly meaningless, because it feels like it’s been weeks and years all at the same time, not hours. He realises he is tired. More tired than he can bear. So tired his mind doesn’t even know what to do anymore. All his sleeping patterns are screwed up. He hasn’t slept properly for so long.

‘I’m so tired, Barry.’ He says into the mattress. ‘I don’t know how to sleep. It got like this...in the coffin after a while.’

He is surprised when Simon slides closer to him, and then holds his breath when Simon covers Nathan’s arm with his own, when he presses his torso alongside Nathan’s back. Simon’s hand sneaks under Nathan’s forearm, and starts stroking his chest.

‘Does this help?’ Simon says so quietly that Nathan feels himself shiver. ‘It seemed to help the other night.’

‘I think so.’ Nathan says, feeling Simon’s warm hand against his chest, the warm body behind him. Simon’s fingers are clever and soothing, and Nathan lets his mind drift again, unsure whether he’s feeling safe or not, but fairly certain that the warmth will help him sleep.

After a few minutes he feels himself drifting off with a bizarre sense of gratitude, and a few more tears leak from his eyes as the world turns to darkness, and he surrenders himself into it.

*

He wakes up from a nightmare, gasping and already angry. He punches the pillow because the nightmares aren’t gone yet. Patience has never been his strong suit. He’s always just figured that the sheer force of his impatience would wear anyone else’s reserves down, but his unconscious stubbornly refuses to back down.

‘The gang want to see you.’ Simon says from his work desk, and Nathan looks up groggily from the mattress, and then sits up. His eyes hurt, and he feels filthy, even though he’d only showered that morning.

‘Can I use your shower?’ Nathan says, and then stands up and stretches hugely.

‘Does this mean you’ll see everyone?’

‘It means I want a shower. You know, turn a couple of taps, water comes out, and then the glorious rubbing of underparts with the addition of soap-as-lubricant?’

Simon shakes his head and Nathan walks off to the shower without saying whether he’s willing to see the group or not. The thing is, he doesn’t know if he’s ready. What if they all expect him to be better now that Fagin-the-ghost is gone? He suspects Kelly will probably expect nothing at all from him and be pretty good about it, because beneath her toughness, he knows how sensitive she can really be. But Alisha and Curtis? That’s a whole other matter; he just doesn’t know. And yet...he wants normalcy again, he thinks it might be worth it, if he could feel some normalcy again.

He showers slowly, letting the water run over his face for a long time, swallowing gulps of it down. He scrubs the remnants of clammy cold sweat off his body and wishes he could watch all the memories sluice down the drain with the rest of the soap suds. He realises abruptly, as he watches the white froth disappear, that he is using Simon’s toiletries, that he is smelling like Simon now. And he’s shocked to realise that this doesn’t bother him and that, if he casts his mind back, he’s never really minded the way that Simon has smelled. He blinks a little at this, as he turns off the taps and shakes his head like a dog; droplets flying everywhere.

‘So am I living here now?’ He calls, knowing that Simon can hear him perfectly well. Can hear everything, in fact. There’s very little privacy in this huge open plan apartment; only the toilet and the closets offer actual doors.

Simon says nothing, and Nathan walks out with a towel wrapped around his waist, dripping water everywhere.

‘Because...I don’t have to stay if you don’t want me to.’ He says suddenly, honesty eclipsing the joking, confident remark that he had planned.

‘The place is big enough for two.’ Simon says, not even looking up from the computer.

‘But is it big enough for my cock?’ Nathan says, grinning.

‘As I’ve seen it, I’d say definitely yes.’ Simon doesn’t even smile.

‘Aw, you’re no fun, Barry.’

‘I’m sorry,’ he says, looking up with a grimace, ‘I’m days behind on my orders. Yes, you can live here. Yes, I’d like for you to stay. Yes, this place is big enough for your...for your cock.’

‘I’ll be the judge of that.’ Nathan purrs, and then he slumps. Already he’s run out of steam. Conversation is difficult, and the humour feels forced and rote. He doesn’t know where the old Nathan has gone, and he doesn’t know how to find his way back to himself, or if he even wants to. The old Nathan did get him in this situation in the first place, after all.

Simon’s expression moves from amused to worried, and Nathan walks off to find his clothing. He ducks behind the elevator in the middle of the huge room to get changed, wonders when he became a modest person. And a beat later, exhales when he realises exactly when that happened; where all of this came from. No. He’s definitely not better yet.

‘Will you see the group? I know you’re tired. You don’t have to. I just thought it might be good to get out, away from here for an hour. You know.’

And Nathan sees a kind of desperation on Simon’s face, and the cogs are turning, but he can’t figure out why it’s there.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ He says. Simon’s eyes drift over to a random space in the middle of the room and he stares significantly. Nathan turns and frowns. There’s nothing there. And then he realises.

‘I’m not the only one who is replaying some of this stuff in his head, am I?’ He says, as he looks at the place where he’d stumbled and fallen, where Fagin had leaned over him all taunts and desperate hunger. It’s not like him to wonder what other people are thinking, how they might be feeling, so it takes a little while for him to try and put himself in Simon’s position. To try and imagine what it must have been like.

‘Tell me what he said.’ Simon says, before Nathan can find a way of easing further into the subject.

‘No one needs to hear that.’ Nathan looks away from the spot, and then away from Simon’s earnest, convincing expression. ‘I’m fucking serious. Technically, he was a ghost, and couldn’t hurt me anyway.’

‘But he did. I’m not an idiot. I know how much words can hurt people. I was there, I’ve never seen you like that before.’ Simon stands up, walks around the table and faces Nathan squarely. Nathan’s jaw clenches in annoyance, because these were the kinds of conversations he didn’t ever want to have to deal with. He wonders if he could live with someone who needed to know things that no one in their right mind should want to know.

‘Jesus Christ is a pole dancer, really? You really need to know? Tell me how that’s going to help you, please. Tell me how the shitty, fucked up things he said to me, will help you?

Simon opens his mouth like he has an answer, but nothing comes. They’re both breathing quickly now, staring at each other, a few metres of distance between them. Nathan folds his arms, and Simon’s expression turns inwards, becomes locked behind his grim, closed-in expression.

‘You won’t tell me anything.’ He says, darkly. ‘Are you protecting yourself? Or are you protecting him?’

‘Okay, okay, I don’t want to get all pissed at you because you’ve just given me a place to live and I don’t want to fuck it up even though that’s kind of my style, but I’m starting to get the impression that living with you is not going to be the living large lifestyle that I thought it would be.’

‘It’s not going to be the living large lifestyle because you’re here because of what he did to you. I don’t want to know for my own benefit. How can you think I’d be d-dying to hear the details? But I...as much as I don’t want to...I care about you. And maybe talking to someone won’t help, maybe it won’t, but I push because I think if there’s a chance, you need to know there’s someone who will listen. I can be that person.’

‘Don’t you get it? I don’t want to talk about it with you. You’d better believe that I don’t ever want to talk about it. And my ever is a lot longer than yours, because I’m immortal, remember?’

‘You love throwing that around,’ Simon says, eyes narrowing, ‘but how long ago was it that you were telling me you hated it? And yes, maybe I also want to know because I would get something out of it. I don’t know. I was there today, Nathan. I saw you. And I hate that I was missing a huge part of what was going on because I don’t have your ability, because I couldn’t see him. And I know that’s not your problem, I’m sorry for making it your problem, I’m a m-mess right now.’

Nathan sits on the edge of Simon’s bed and puts his head in his hands. Simon held himself together so well most of the time, that it always takes him aback to see him suddenly vulnerable like this. And he wonders how much Simon and he have in common, that they both had their facades to rely on. Simon and his newfound confidence as some kind of English ninja, and he with his lackadaisical attitude towards life.

‘Maybe seeing everyone else will take our mind off things.’ Nathan says in the space between his palms.

‘I’ll organise it.’ Simon says, his clear-headed voice back in place, the one that hid the confusion and the darkness all at the same time. As Simon starts calling numbers, Nathan rocks back on the bed until his spine is touching the doona cover, and he stares up at the ceiling again. He keeps waiting for it to get easy, and he keeps getting let down by his expectations.

*

They decide to meet at a different pub, since Alisha and Curtis have made it clear that they’re not the biggest fans of group meet-ups at their own place of employment; probably because Nathan keeps begging off free drinks. They get a large booth which lends an aura of privacy, and Kelly and Curtis walk off to get everyone’s drinks for them. Nathan pretends it’s not already awkward. He and Simon have only been able to carry on stilted conversations since their argument, and he knows the dynamic of the group is way off. And he knows that he’s responsible, somehow.

When Kelly returns with his cider, he tucks it under his chin and rests his head on it.

‘It’s so weird, seeing you like this, yeah?’ Alisha says. She sips at her vodka mix and looks at Nathan with a cocked head, trying to figure him out.

‘I just need time to restyle the old comedy act.’ He says, drily, and Curtis chuckles.

‘Sure, whatever.’

‘Simon says you found an exorcist that worked though, right? My list helped?’ Alisha half-smiles with a hint of shyness, something self-effacing, as though she’s still always taken aback when something she offers the group actually helps them. Nathan doesn’t have the heart to squash that expression with humour, and he doesn’t know where his humour’s gone anyway.

‘An accountant and an exorcist. Just what every haunted house needs at tax time.’ He says.

‘Weird. But...sort of not surprising considering everything else we’ve been through.’ Alisha says, wry.

‘Was she hot?’

‘Curtis!’ Alisha laughs in reproach, and shoulder bumps him, but Simon steps in and informs them that yes, Amy was hot, and that he’s still got her numbers if Curtis wants them. But that maybe she’s out of his league. That gets the table laughing, and Nathan watches, bemused, as Simon keeps the conversation flowing deftly from then on. He’s never really noticed before how Simon’s quiet humour is witty and not even often that appropriate. He knows he’s never really given Simon a chance to talk because he’s always enjoyed dominating conversations in the past, and he knows that only a few months ago, Simon would probably have been too timid to talk like this. But watching him now, in his element, with his friends, Nathan realises that he’s way more invested in their friendship than he previously thought. That maybe he actually cares for the person in front of him, in ways that he hadn’t fully appreciated a week or two ago. It takes him aback, and he drinks half of his cider at once to take his mind off it.

This time it’s less awkward that Nathan isn’t the one hogging the spotlight. They’ve all had a chance to get used to the change, and who knows what Kelly’s told them to help them adjust to him. He interjects carefully every now and then, with old and steady one-liners that he knows others will find disgusting and funny, but he has to think hard about the timing, and he can’t lose himself in the carefree comedy anymore.

At the end of an evening that helps him to feel almost normal again, Kelly asks him if he’ll accompany her outside for a smoke. He follows with his hands in the pockets of his jeans, the taste of fermented apples in his mouth, and Simon’s gaze stuck to his back as he exits the pub.

‘Nathan...’ Kelly says, starting a conversation as she lights her cigarette and drags at it, watching him with something like concern in her eyes.

‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ He says, pre-emptively.

‘Neither do I. But, Nathan, I know what I fucking saw and felt when I connected with you about all of this. So I know I don’t want to talk about it. And I know you don’t either. But...’ she pauses, looks down at her feet. Her shoulders hunch in a way that is most unusual for her. When she looks up, her face is drawn. ‘I can’t sleep properly. It sucks. And this is going to sound really fucking stupid, but I don’t have anyone else to talk to about it, who will know what I’m talking about. I mean, it’s not like I can say to my Mum, ‘oh, hi Mum, just dreaming about being raped by my friend’s rapist who became a ghost and now might be haunting me,’ can I?’

‘Yeah,’ Nathan says, awkwardly, ‘I guess that’s not a conversation starter.’ It didn’t even occur to him that this might be affecting her like this, and he feels like an idiot for not thinking about it. Now he realises that even though Fagin never followed her back to her place like they’d planned, she didn’t know that, and she had no way of knowing that until today. She put herself on the line for him, and he feels guilty and worried at the same time.

‘I need someone to talk about it, and as much as I like Simon, even trust him...I want to talk to you about it.’ She continues.

‘But I don’t have to talk about it?’ Nathan says, hopeful.

‘It’s just...I only have scraps of it. A roast dinner. A strange painting and the sound of you and some guy laughing about it. That guy. And then pain. A lot of it. Like the worst pain I’ve ever fucking felt.’

Nathan feels the blood drain out of his face and he’s pretty sure he didn’t have a great deal there in the first place, considering how cold he is. He doesn’t know if he can do this, if he can really listen to someone who has been vicariously damaged by his own damage. He shoves his hands further into his jeans and clenches them, but Kelly doesn’t notice, and instead she leans against the cold wall and flicks the finished cigarette away, and lights another one.

‘I know it didn’t happen to me, but something about his power, and the way he’d twisted your mind up, twisted up the information I got and it felt real, Nathan. And telling myself that it didn’t happen to me isn’t helping. How fucking ridiculous is that? I keep saying to myself, ‘suck it up,’ and I’m still waking up each night in cold sweats about it. It’s stupid.’

‘Maybe...it’s like it did happen to you. In a way.’ Nathan says, hesitantly. He’s not used to this, not used to really thinking through other people’s problems. ‘Jesus, Jesus, maybe it’s exactly like that,’ his eyes widen and he looks at her, ‘you could’ve told me about this earlier.’

Kelly laughs at him, and he shakes his head. Okay, he thinks, maybe he wouldn’t have been able to listen to this earlier. Not properly, anyway.

‘Nathan, sometimes I hear what you’re thinking, and it’s dead messed up. I know I can’t just make you think about it differently, just like I can’t make myself stop having nightmares about it, but it’s fucked up. All of this.’

‘Yeah.’ Nathan says, because everything she’s saying is right, and he doesn’t have anything else to add.

‘At least what I’m remembering doesn’t make me feel like it’s my fault.’ She adds, and he winces. He opens his mouth to say something but she gives him that determined look which says that she might punch him if he interrupts. ‘I’m serious! And if you hurt Simon? I will fuck you up, yeah?’

‘Geez, where did that come from? This is, without a doubt, the weirdest heart to heart I’ve ever had.’

‘I’m dead messed up too, okay?’ She says, on a low exhale.

‘Yeah, yeah, I get that,’ Nathan says, softly, because he can see it in the way she’s standing, in the way she’s looking off to the side, like she’s too cool to make eye contact, which is code for ‘I’m too worried to make eye contact.’ He knows her well enough now to know that things are really messed up for both of them. He takes a step closer to her, and then another until he’s leaning with his back on the wall next to her and their arms are touching. He can smell tobacco and he wants to take a drag as well, but he prefers the taste of cider instead.

‘I’m sorry.’ He says, and then laughs, ‘not in a ‘I think everything’s my fault’ way, more in a...I’m sorry this fucked up situation tarred you with the same goddamn piece of brush, and that I didn’t notice. I wouldn’t have wished this on you.’ He adds, his voice lacking its usual lilt and falling into a darker, more serious register that the group hardly ever heard.

‘I just keep waiting for it to go away, because you know, the ghost wasn’t in my house and I wasn’t raped. But it doesn’t work that way.’

‘I just want to go back to the way things were.’ He admits, on a whisper. And Kelly looks at him then, with a sad, bittersweet smile.

‘Yeah. I know, already. I can hear it, Nathan,’ she says, nodding towards his head, ‘I can hear it, and I know you want it. But it’s not gonna happen. It doesn’t work that way.’

Nathan sighs and braces himself when she leans into him a little more and rests her head on his shoulder. Cigarette smoke wreathes around them, and the taste of cider morphs into blood when he accidentally bites his cheek again. Her hair smells like citrus and presses up into his cheek in a way that makes him realise that while it might look soft from a distance, but the product makes it feel hard and clumpy. He has no idea what she can hear from him, what she can’t, and he finds that he doesn’t really care. She already knows the worst anyway. And he wishes that he could take it back. That he could have known in advance that it would hurt her like this if she read his thoughts, and that it was never worth putting her in this position, and that he’d get Simon to kill Fagin all over again just for giving her those hangdog eyes. He wants to hold her, but he’s surprisingly comfortable, and he thinks she is too. In the end, he just imagines doing it instead, and closes his eyes.

‘Thanks for talking to me.’ She says, and then she shifts against him. ‘Ever since I got my power, I’ve always kind of liked the way you think. It’s nothing like the shit you say out loud.’

‘Is that right?’ He says, on a half-smile.

‘Yeah.’

They stay like that, leaning and getting colder, but unwilling to break apart. When the others exit the pub, they move away from each other slowly, and Alisha hooks her arm through Kelly’s in that girly camaraderie that Nathan’s never understood but has always found kind of hot. They say their goodbyes, and then Nathan and Simon walk back to his apartment. Nathan wants to tell Simon about the conversation he had with Kelly, but then decides to keep it private. There’s some things he’s not ready to share yet, and then there’s things that aren’t his place to share; and the strange connection he and Kelly now have is one of them.
 
 
 
calistomythcalistomyth on October 9th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
I love how you've decided to extend this a bit further :) It's so nice to see the blossoming relationship between Nathan and Kelly.
The argument was perfect; it is really an emotional journey for all of them and I've enjoyed seeing how it's affected them all differently.
I can't wait for the next chapter!
not_poignant: misfits - stop killing probation workersnot_poignant on October 11th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've written about 1500 of the next chapter, so we're getting there. It's tough writing Simon and Nathan though, because in so many ways they're just not compatible at all. And yet in others they are. They are E4's odd couple!

Well, one of them, anywa. Heh.
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)
Yay!
Thanks so much for updating! This story, incredibly, just keeps getting better. You are so good at building tension and maintaining suspense with the romantic storyline. Love, love, love it!