Disclaimer: The characters and settings in this story do not belong to me, but to the amazing Hilari Bell. Title is a Radiohead lyric, because I'm just that original.
Summary: Fisk is happy, which must mean the world is going to end soon.
If you even know what the Knight and Rogue series is, we should be friends. Seriously.
Anyway, beware of questionable writing skills and probably out-of-character characters and no real plot aside from fluff and poorly named cities and some over-the-top dramatic dialogue. Also, slash.
Fisk had returned from the market just before the skies opened up and started covering the dusty roads with rain. The light was on in the stable and Fisk found Michael there, inspecting Chant's foot.
"He seems to be favoring it. Mayhap the ride yesterday caused him to pull something."
Michael was referring to when Fisk rode Chant to Leesburg, two hours west of their current lodgings in Hylen, because an important letter had been accidentally left behind by the mail carriers. As Fisk was temporarily responsible for the placement of letters in the right bags (at least until the permanent sorter returned from visiting her ailing aunt), he felt responsible and asked Michael if he could borrow Chant, the faster of their two horses, to catch up with the carrier.
"I didn't notice him having any difficulty yesterday, but it could be."
"Are you sure? Mayhap you were riding too fast."
Fisk felt himself prickle at the insinuation that he didn't care about the horse's wellbeing. "I know not to push him too hard!"
"I didn't say that," countered Michael, but he sounded irritated. "I'm only concerned that you might not have been aware of exactly what his limits are."
Anger bubbling, Fisk said, "Don't trust me Mike?"
Michael's lip curled at the nickname. He stopped rubbing Chant's leg and stood up, brushing off his pants. The air grew tense and thick as they stared at each other and all Fisk could think was finally.
A foreign tension had been building between them ever since bloody Jack Bannister kidnapped and tried to kill Michael. Michael prodded and questioned Fisk, wanting to know more about the man and his part in Fisk's life. Fisk just wanted to forget it ever happened. The difference in opinion had been slowly working away at each of their nerves for weeks. Now the slow-burning resentment between them crested and boiled over as Michael spat "Because you've always been so honest with me."
"Ah, so now we get to the real problem. Why don't you tell me what's on your mind?"
Crossing his arms and leaning against the stable wall, Michael glared at Fisk. "We have been living together for years now. You are my only companion, my one friend in this world, yet you keep me at arm's length. I know nothing of your past except what scraps I have been given by your sisters, sisters I would never have met if you had your way!"
"Why is it important?" Fisk yelled. "What does it matter what happened in my past? I'm here now."
"How could it not be important? Fisk, 'tis a part of you and I want to have… I want to know. Everything about you." Michael sounded frustrated and slightly confused, as if he didn't understand why this was so important either.
The anger drained from Fisk, leaving him tired and upset. He didn't want to have that conversation. He liked what he had with Michael. It was uncomplicated and wonderful, wasn't tied to his past like a constant reminder. Giving Michael the story would mean merging the two together, tainting his new life with the mistakes of the old, and Fisk wasn't willing to let go.
He exhaled sharply and said, "It's all yours. Michael, you already have everything else. Maybe one day I'll tell you about the thieving and about Jack, but for now just… can you be satisfied with me as I am?"
It made him feel vulnerable to admit as much, but there was also a sense of relief. If things were going to fall apart, as they tended to do when Fisk chanced at being happy, at least he managed to be marginally honest with Michael. The knight stared dumbly at him for a long moment, processing the statement. Eventually he said, "Yes, of course" in a voice quieter than a whisper. A pause and then, louder, "I'm sorry."
"I am too," replied Fisk. It was still raining, but he walked out and away from the building without a backwards glance.
Four hours later and Fisk regretted that decision. He was wet, shivering, and he could feel a cold coming from the tingle in the back of his throat. When he stumbled back into the room, it was with the full intent of falling into his bed and sleeping for a week. Instead, he ran smack into the back of Michael, who spun around to steady him.
"Fisk, I want to tell—are you insane?" he exclaimed. "Have you been outside this whole time?"
"Y-yes. It ap-p-pears I wasn't thinking v-very c-clearly."
Michael shook his head in exasperation and grabbed the blanket off his own bed to wrap around Fisk. "C'mon, I'll light the stove."
There were soup ingredients laid out on the counter. Michael must have been preparing dinner while he waited for Fisk to return and Fisk could feel the guilt creep in. He probably shouldn't have run off like that.
Michael shushed him, rubbing his arms through the blanket when he finished with the stove. "Let's get you out of these clothes."
Fisk's fingers wouldn't cooperate and he fumbled with the laces on his shirt uselessly. Michael huffed a laugh, breath fanning Fisk's face, and replaced Fisk's hands with his own. He trembled as Michael's fingers trailed his body and peeled the wet tunic over his head. To his credit, Michael didn't allow himself a moment to feel awkward when he started on Fisk's pants. They were untied and pulled down quickly, although Fisk shook harder as he placed his hands on Michael's shoulders to lift his feet out of the legs.
Michael hung the clothes near the heat while Fisk stood dripping in the middle of the room, squeezing the blanket tight around him and feeling dizzy. A particularly bad cough made him stumble and Michael moved back to his side quickly.
"You're going to be miserable to live with for the next few days."
"'Fraid so," Fisk croaked.
Michael sighed again and surprised Fisk by touching their foreheads together whispering "What possessed you?"
"Just n-needed t-to think," Fisk stuttered, unable to stop himself from leaning into the warmth.
"I am sorry. About before," Michael said while running his hands up and down Fisk's back, heating the cooled skin beneath the blanket. "'Twas not my place to demand the information."
A cough ruined any reply Fisk might have made and he let out a pathetic sounding moan. He felt fuzzy and disoriented, but he swore a pair of lips pressed against his forehead before Michael began dragging him to his bed. Fisk was tucked in snugly, every blanket in the room piled atop him, and a wet cloth placed on his head.
The knight fussed about while Fisk slept, cooking and routinely checking on him to plump the pillows or exchange the wet cloth. He woke Fisk once to feed him the finished soup, sitting down by the bed while Fisk ate. Fisk relished the heat as it coursed through his body and praised Michael on the taste.
"This is delicious," Fisk managed, between bites. The heat of the soup coursed through his body and warmed him better than blanket.
Grinning, Michael explained, "'Tis a recipe of the cook back home. I used to badger her in the kitchens when I got tired of following my brothers around. She taught me how to cook so that I could be helpful instead of just a nuisance."
Fisk laughed, which dissolved into a coughing fit and Michael made him lay back, removing the empty bowl. "Go back to sleep Fisk. You'll not be much of a squire if you get crippled by pneumonia."
"Not much of a squire anyway."
"Nonsense. Best in all the land, I reckon."
"I'm the only squire in all the land, Michael," argued Fisk as his eyes drooped. "Because you're the only person crazy enough to be a knight and I can't seem to keep away from you."
The last thing Fisk heard before he fell asleep again was Michael saying quietly, "I'm starting to realize that. 'Tis one of my favorite things about you."
Fisk spent the next two days in bed and miserable. His cold got worse before it got better and Michael, though he never complained, had to play nursemaid. When he wasn't sleeping, Fisk passed the time by mending clothes and listening to Michael chatter. Michael only left the room to buy more food and care for the horses, except the one time he came back wielding a book for Fisk to read. When Fisk asked after Chant and his leg, Michael told him that it had probably only been stiff because of the rain and Chant was already back to prime condition.
"It appears my horse just wanted an excuse to stay out of the rain. Mayhap he knew that I wouldn't need two patients to look after," Michael said and although it sounded like a joke, Fisk understood it for the apology it was.
"Serves you right," he quipped, "I've patched you up enough times in the past."
Michael had no argument to that.
By the third day Fisk was on the mend and vocalized his desire to wash off in the pond not far from where they were staying. Michael followed him out with some arrows and shot at geese while Fisk bathed. After a long time, Fisk crawled out of the water and flopped down in the grass next him. They sat in silence for several minutes, Michael idly picking at the grass near Fisk's arm, until the knight said, abruptly, "I can see magica."
Fisk sat up in confusion at the blunt statement. He turned towards the knight, but Michael's gaze remained trained on the ground.
"'Tis the effect of the potions I was forced to take while imprisoned by the Lady Ceciel. They changed my sensing gift, morphing it into something more concrete. I still sense magica, but now 'tis something I can see as well. Everything magica has a sort of glow about it, unearthly and indescribable."
"Ceciel was experimenting with it, forcing draughts on the plain ones in an attempt to develop a recipe to give people the power of magica. She meant it to be for regular folk, but she couldn't risk testing it on anyone regular until she captured me. A man unable to go to the law, and looking to bring her to justice no less, I was the perfect candidate. 'Twas awful. Being force fed the potion every night, feeling it spread through my body. I hated her."
Fisk's heart thumped. Michael had never spoken of his time spent with Lady Ceciel and, although Fisk had been curious, he hadn't pushed the issue. Now he was starting to understand why Michael kept it to himself. The man was scared of the power, terrified of how he had been changed against his will. Fisk thought of how he felt when he was forced into stealing to save his family and he felt a surge of anger. If they ever ran into Lady Ceciel again, Fisk would not be as merciful as Michael had been before.
"Until the ship wreckers and the unfortunate experience of falling to my supposed death, I didn't even know I was capable of much more than that. 'Tis not as if have control over it, but the magic seems to manifest without any conscious thought when I'm in need." He sighed. "I know I should be grateful that I was not killed after being thrown from that cliff, but it frightens me that my body is capable of doing such things without my consent."
A pause, and then Michael looked at him. "I didn't want to you to think differently of me. 'Twas why I didn't tell you. And I wanted desperately to pretend none of it happened. But…" he took a breath and let it out slowly. "I'm glad you know."
Blinking back sudden emotion, Fisk opened his mouth a few times, unsure of what to say. He wanted to thank Michael for trusting him, but it seemed like such a formal thing to do. He thought about how frightened he was of letting Michael in and, suddenly, confiding in the knight didn't seem such a horrible thing. Fisk felt his throat close up at Michael's next words.
"Don't feel like you have to tell me anything," he said, gracing Fisk with a small smile. "I just realized I can't ask for something I'm not willing to give myself."
Fisk took a shuddering breath in an attempt to compose himself and it held for one precarious moment. Then Michael put a hand on his shoulder and Fisk crumpled. It was not one of his more stellar moments. He was so unfamiliar with getting what he wanted that he was having a hard time dealing with the realization that Michael was just as hopelessly tied to him as he was to the knight. It was an alien concept, that someone might want to give him something without needing anything in return, and he couldn't do anything but fall apart for a minute or two while Michael curled an arm around him and rocked gently.
"I'm a mess," Fisk choked out after a moment.
"You're a mess," agreed Michael and kissed his temple. "But I like you anyway."
He stroked Fisk's hair a couple times before drawing back and smiling softly at him. "See you at home?" It was half question, half statement, and Fisk nodded, stomach twisting happily at the word 'home'. Michael's smile widened and he left, giving Fisk a moment alone.
Mind racing, he thought about what it meant for Michael to reveal so much. Michael had said he'd been worried Fisk might think differently of him, but the idea that Fisk might ever think less of Michael or, even more ridiculous, be scared of the man was insane. Yet, hadn't Fisk assumed the same thing in regards to sharing his own story with Michael?
He hadn't wanted to face the fact that he was scared to death of how much power Michael held over his happiness. Fisk wanted a reason to keep Michael at a distance so that he wouldn't have to admit just how devastated he would be if the knight left him.
Trusting people was for fools and Fisk hadn't been a fool for a long time. Then again, he hadn't been this content with his life in even longer. Maybe it was time for a change.
He could still feel the spot Michael's lips brushed his skin. He remembered a similar kiss when he was dripping wet and shivering in their rooms and gentle hands brushing his face while he was ill. He remembered Michael saying he wanted to know everything about Fisk.
There was a decision to be made and Fisk now understood as he headed towards home and Michael (who were one and the same anyway) that there had never really been a choice at all.
Life went on as usual for a few weeks. Michael finished up his contract with the farmer in Hylen to build a cow barn so the two of them set out to look for a new town with new prospects. The weather was gorgeous, warm and sunny, and the horses trotted merrily, spirits as high as their rider's.
Fisk let out a whoop of joy, basking in the sun and the open road. When he looked over at Michael, it was to find the knight already staring at him, smile bright and affectionate. Fisk mirrored him and the moment stretched, boundless, leaving them the only people in the world. Something like wonder filled him then; flowing through every part of his body and making him feel weightless and amazing.
He had never been happier.
The thought made him stop his horse and Michael pulled up beside him, still smiling sweetly. Fisk said "Michael," without any idea what he planned to add, but the way it made Michael's expression morph into something decidedly less innocent was reason enough. He decided the time for waiting was over.
"Lunch," Fisk announced hoarsely and guided Tipple off the road and into the shade of the trees. Michael followed without question and Fisk's pulse raced. They slid off the horses and secured them in silence, Fisk lingering longer than necessary on the ties.
"Wish me luck," he whispered to Tipple, patting her nose and taking a couple deep breaths. Then he turned around to find Michael only a footstep away, staring at him.
"Hi," Fisk said, unthinking.
"Hi," replied Michael, as though greeting the person you had spent the last five hours riding with was a natural thing to do.
"I want to—" Fisk started at the same time Michael said, "Fisk, can I—" and they both stopped and grinned at each other. "You first," Fisk offered, excited energy thrumming through him.
Michael let out a nervous sounding laugh. "I'm afraid that my question might lead to an end in conversation for a while," he said, dark eyes on Fisk. "And I am curious to hear what you have to say."
Fisk swallowed hard, mouth dry, and said slowly, "I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page."
The tense line of Michael's shoulder's didn't let up as he whispered "I hope so" and extended tentative fingers to brush Fisk's cheek, over his nose, and slowly, slowly across his lips. Exhaling shakily and unable to contain a wide smile, Fisk bent his head into the palm.
"Oh thank god," Michael breathed and stumbled forward, both hands coming up to cradle Fisk's face. Gripping the knight's waist, Fisk closed his eyes in fear that he might burst from the absolute joy singing through every part of his body.
"Just to be absolutely clear," he said, "I will tell you anything you want to know about me. Anything, Michael."
The hands holding him tightened, which was the only warning he got before a pair of lips pressed firmly against his own. Michael pulled back enough to murmur "later" and dove back in while Fisk was still nodding his agreement. They kissed and kissed and kissed, sunlight bright and warm where it filtered through the trees. At some point, a giddy laugh erupted from Fisk and Michael kissed him twice more, hitting mostly teeth, before the euphoria caught him too. Then they were leaning into each other, cracking up, delirious and elated.
"I love you," Fisk blurted, because he couldn't not. Not with Michael close and gorgeous and happy, looking at him like the world started and ended in Fisk's smile. The ground was hard and dirty when Fisk hit it, but he couldn't find it in him to care much when an armful full of Michael followed saying, "Fisk, Fisk, Fisk" over and over and beaming at him, impossibly bright.
The weight lifted seconds later and Fisk blinked at the knight, who gazed back, looking amazed. "Beautiful boy," sighed Michael, and then, because he was a hopeless romantic at heart, "You are everything. Everything."
The trees above Michael's head swayed in the breeze to reveal the sky beyond, endless and so blue it hurt, and in a moment both terrifying and wonderful, Fisk realized he believed him.
I'm not exactly a master of writing, but I was so disappointed that there wasn't one single fanfiction of this wonderful series on this site (although there are a few elsewhere if you look really really hard) that I felt the needed to remedy the situation. So in case any other fans of Michael and Fisk find their way here, at least there will be one fic available for reading!
I managed to mostly avoid using endearments in this story (aside from one near the end, that I totally blame on Criminal Minds), so that's a plus. I've always been a fan of characters using nicknames or pet names for each other and this has only become worse since the surge of Eames/Arthur fiction on the internet. Will probably not be able to resist should I ever finish another one of the several stories I have floating around my computer.
I would like to make it clear that although I slash Michael and Fisk, I'm all for them being platonically in love forever as well. Either way, as long as they keep being awesome together!
Review if you like. Or if you want to be friends =]