Boltedfruit Archive

Me, You, and Misery

Published: 2020-03-10

Category: M/M

Rating: M

Words: 1,223

Fandom: Altered Carbon

Ship: Jaeger/Takeshi Kovacs

Characters: Jaeger, Takeshi Kovacs

 

Tags: Season/Series 02, Character Study, Pining, Unrequited Love

Summary:

They fight. And they fight. And it feels every which way wrong when they fight, but Jaeger doesn’t know how to stop fighting after three hundred years of it.

Author's Note

I hope you enjoy! And consider leaving a comment at the end of the fic to let me know what you thought.

“You must really hate him,” Kovacs says, some forlorn look cast down from dark eyes and the betrayal in them, the pity, it makes Jaeger’s blood boil.

 

Then it simmers.

 

The construct’s got him stuck under a damn rock, and if he wanted, which he does surely, he could use the sleeve the Protectorate made for him to lift it off.

 

But Kovacs is still looking at him. Kovacs is lingering in spite of the mission and it makes Jaeger want to rip his goddamn throat out. Can’t tell if that’s the Wedge sleeve or his own fury.

 

He trained Kovacs better than this.

 

Centuries he’s spent, spun up, spun down, spun up again for a call to blood, a call to war, all wars except his own. This war, right in front of him, staring him in the face.

 

He thought he trained Kovacs better than this, and says so. Tells him, if only to soothe the ache behind Kovacs’ eyes that he was always the best of them. A hundred thousand souls in sleeves Jaeger could spend whole lifetimes training, preparing, bettering, perfecting, and none could reach even the lowest rung of Takeshi Kovacs’ pure and endless potential. Kovacs. His favorite. His soldier. His boy.

 

And it never dulls, does it. The satisfaction when the perfect, utterly and wholly human soldier Jaeger doesn’t hate in the least obeys a direct order without deviance.

 

He doesn’t hate him. And it’s taken a lot of wars and a lot of blood to come to terms with that.

 

He’ll live beyond this construct, this moment.

 

There’s time, and he’s foolish for believing it like he did once before.

 

 

He’s never double sleeved before but this, he imagines, is not like that. It’s pain and rage far deeper than his own. It sinks into the bones, reaches into the planet’s core and out back the other side, drifting off in sparks threatening Angel Fire.

 

It’s being locked in a cage, never to be spun back up again. Just like he first feared when the Protectorate first took away his name. The fear that shaped him into a new face that others looked at and called Colonel Ivan Carrera.

 

The Elder’s anger bleeds into his own, allows his to fester and grow and leap in soaring waves to the surface, outside the bars of his cage. Allows him to indulge in what ifs and could have beens and maybe Kovacs was right in some ways.

 

He wants to burn it out. He’s better than this.

 

The Elder wants to rain down blue fire.

 

And Jaeger wants it too, badly. Wants it for himself as much as the Elder inside him does.

 

And that’s funny.

 

 

Jaeger watches from his prison. He’s confused, even though he shouldn’t be. Kovacs, the one who was led astray. And his Kovacs, the one who listened, only hours ago–both of them with that bitch Quellcrist Falconer and what a lofty joke that is indeed. To lose the same man twice in the same way.

 

The rage then is all his and the Elder allows him to feel it, even as it twists his hand to allow a ceasefire.

 

But Jaeger knows Danica Harlan better than the Elder ever will, and isn’t surprised when she’s quick to brew chaos. How helpless she is to it, just like her reckless fool of a father.

 

And it’s maddening when they fight. Because it’s the fight he’s always wanted. It’s the fight he’s always needed to have, one on one. Jaeger and Kovacs, to the end, until they both die, because he’s traded lives before. Has lived after Kovacs’ death, and vice versa, and it’s painful. Horrid. Being spun down for long stretches then was a relief.

 

But this, fighting now, feeling the thunderous hits and hearing the furious snarls he taught Kovacs how to execute makes him jealous it’s not truly one on one. Not when he’s inhabited by the Elder. Not when it’s Kovacs, the old, and Kovacs the new. Prime, he thinks fondly, as he sends him sailing back. How he wishes it could be different.

 

“Come on, Jaeger,” Kovacs challenges, and it’s a plea into a dark well that he floats at the bottom of. “I know you’re in there.”

 

Kovacs is right, and Jaeger gladly starts to swim.

 

Trust me.

 

Jaeger said it once and wants to say it again.

 

He knows why, too. It’s the pain of all the things he wanted and still wants and won’t ever have, because Takeshi Kovacs is ever himself, and what a fool Jaeger was for believing Kovacs was ever his.

 

Kovacs, who knows every rotten thing about him, and still says, with so much care, as if not a day passed since he took him under his wing in CTAC, “This isn’t you, Jaeger. You can fight this.”

 

Like Kovacs still believes in him. Believes that somewhere inside him, he’s not just a man out to destroy the world if it means getting what–getting who–he wants.

 

Kovacs is wrong. Maybe he’s not wrong. It’s hard to think with all the screaming inside his head.

 

And Kovacs says, “Stay with me, Jaeger,” like he means it too. And that’s the funniest and most infuriating thing of all.

 

A joke, because that’s all Jaeger’s been trying to say, since he tried to comfort the kid that killed his own father.

 

“I can help you,” Kovacs says and it pisses Jaeger off. Makes him hateful until he’s sick in the gut with ire.

 

Kovacs never wanted his help, so why should Jaeger accept his?

 

They fight. And they fight. And it feels every which way wrong when they fight, but Jaeger doesn’t know how to stop fighting after three hundred years of it.

 

He can feel the Elder clawing to get out, to get to the front, but all Jaeger can think, can growl is something too close to the truth. The truth no one can know except for himself.

 

For her he growls, and it’s bloody, how he says it, how it feels, how it’s always felt to know the how and the why of Kovacs betraying him.

 

He still cannot call Kovacs a failure, even with the barrel of a gun pressed hot under his jaw. The alloy digs into his skin and he knows it won’t kill him. Not really.

 

“You were supposed to be my legacy,” Jaeger forces himself to say, forces himself to the front. This is too important to let the Elder witness firsthand. Not his not death. Not the way Kovacs holds him tight and angry and full of the hate Jaeger fought for years to have beat out of him in drills and missions.

 

Takeshi is the purest of them. He is the most human, and that wasn’t a lie.

 

Jaeger doesn’t hate Takeshi. He hates himself.

 

And when Kovacs, the one who shares the same long history as Jaeger does, presses his own finger to the trigger, well, he can’t say he’s surprised or confused or angry at all.

 

He’s really fucking proud.

 

He’ll live beyond this moment.

 

There’s time to do better.

 

And he’s not foolish for believing it.

 

Jaeger refuses to be foolish ever again.

 

But that’s for next time. When he’s spun up in a new body, with an old name.