"I need my tube," Jensen says as he walks in the door. He doesn't slam it behind him, but he shuts it very firmly. Misha looks up from his saucepan to watch Jensen stride past, discarding his keys and coat on the table as he goes.
Misha keeps stirring. Eventually the alfredo sauce is the right thickness and the fettuccine softened to just the far side of al dente. Jensen objects to crunchy pasta. Then Misha lids the pans and turns off the burners, and goes in search of his boyfriend.
He finds him where he expected to, in what Misha chooses to call the study, although Jensen has always caustically referred to it as a burrow. Jensen is seated in a ratty old recliner with his hands knotted in his lap. He's wearing The Tube, which is to say he looks like a naughty dog who won't stop scratching, except Jensen's preventative device is cylindrical instead of conical, and it's got a harness that fits under his arms to keep The Tube from falling off the front of his face.
Jensen doesn't say anything as Misha comes in, although he has to have heard him. Jensen has excellent hearing. Misha has never asked him if that's a were thing. "Soup's on," Misha says.
Jensen's breath heaves in, heaves out. The exhale echoes hollowly down The Tube.
Misha could go eat pasta alone, while it's warm; he's done it before. He could work a while longer on his laptop and hope Jensen shakes loose whatever's bothering him before bedtime. Instead Misha takes a seat in the room's other chair, a stately wingback that's seen many, many better days. He flicks on the lamp and pulls his knitting from the basket sitting to one side. Colorwork is the devil, he's recently decided, but he'll finish this scarf for his mother or die in the attempt, impaled on his own needles.
"You can eat dinner," Jensen says. His voice echoes worse than his breath does, but the distortion can't hide the sound of involuntary resentment; Jensen hates talking while wearing The Tube.
"I could," Misha agrees. He works at untangling his teal from his navy; he hasn't poked at this in a couple of weeks.
Jensen pushes to his feet with a huff, shaking his head, and paces the length of the room. When he reaches the end, he turns around and paces back. Misha gets his two colors of yarn arranged on his fingers and settles back. Jensen's going to be a while yet.
After some uncounted number of trips down the room - Misha tried keeping track once, but got bored around the fifty mark – Jensen stops, stock-still. The sudden lack of motion is so jarring that Misha looks up in time to see Jensen carefully unsnapping The Tube's harness and lifting it off his head. He sets it aside and comes to stand awkwardly by Misha. Misha looks at Jensen looking at him until finally Jensen blurts, "You made alfredo."
Misha lifts his eyebrows. "Your nose never fails." That is a were thing; they're notorious for it, wolves and hedgehogs alike.
"So, not vegan tonight?" Jensen tries to ask it lightly, and does a poor job of it. He is not good at subtlety, which is, Misha is convinced, strictly a Jensen thing.
"I am never vegan," Misha says, rolling his eyes. It's an old argument. "Vegans don't eat shrimp teriyaki when it's socially expedient."
Jensen crouches on his haunches, his eyes now a little below level with Misha's. His hands lands on Misha's knee, heavy and warm. "What happened? You don't break out the butter unless something's wrong."
Misha's throat closes up, and it takes a little while before he answers. "Nadia had another doctor's visit today."
Misha shrugs. It's never good when it comes to his sister's health; it hasn't been for years. "It's not like it's news."
"Misha." Jensen kneels and leans in to wrap his arms around Misha. Against Misha's collarbone, he says, "Why didn't you tell me?"
Jensen rocks back on his heels. "I've been here for forty-five minutes, Mish."
He doesn't look or sound accusing. Misha finds himself hunching in against that look anyway. "You were wearing The Tube," he points out.
Jensen snorts. "I was wearing it because I had to give three different client presentations today, including Roger's." Tension creeps back into his face, but after a moment's pause he shakes it off, which means The Tube has done its work. He rubs at Misha's arm. "Come on, let's go eat dairy product and you can tell me about it. Or not." He and Misha both know that not is the likelier option. Still, hope springs eternal with Jensen. Who'd have thought the werehedgehog with the social anxiety was the optimist between them?
"Okay," Misha allows. He sets his knitting aside for the next time necessary social interaction drives Jensen to The Tube. He stands and lets Jensen slip an arm around him. It's a little awkward maneauvering through the door that way, even more so when Misha realizes that spines are poking at his arm through the fabric of Jensen's shirt – which means more Tube time after dinner, probably – but Misha doesn't let go.