They’re both being idiots. Jensen stays up all night obsessing over it, and this is the brilliant conclusion he comes to. What the hell are they doing being awkward with each other when they know every intimate detail of each other’s lives, know without words what the other is thinking or feeling—no. That’s a joke, and not a very funny one. Jensen won’t even entertain it. He resolves to fix the situation and doesn’t doubt he can do it.
So he asks Jared out again the next night, and Jared agrees. They go to dinner at a new restaurant this time, and it’s somehow even worse than the night before. Jared is even more awkward, and that makes Jensen choke on all the plans he had for making good date conversation.
Jensen wants to give up on trying to make it work after that and just go to sleep, but somehow they end up making out and before Jensen knows it, they’re in Jared’s room and he’s sucking cock for the first time since he’d stopped having to swap blowjobs with his high school friends in order to get one. He’d hated it then, hated everything about it, so it makes no sense that doing it to Jared turns him on almost as much as when Jared was kneeling in front of him, taking everything Jensen had to give. It does, though. He loves the sounds Jared makes and the way his hands don’t push or pull, they just rest in Jensen’s hair, long fingers stroking him. He loves the filthy things Jared says about his mouth—things Jensen has been hearing since he was hardly more than a kid, things Jensen has always resented but which suddenly sound like the best damn praise he’s ever received. He even loves the way Jared tastes. Jensen never tried swallowing before, but he does his best to match Jared’s skill and, even though he can’t handle it and comes up choking, come dripping out of his mouth, Jared looks at him like Jensen deserves him, licks his own mess off Jensen’s chin happily.
Jared hardly gets his hands on Jensen before he loses it. All he can think is that it’s Jared—his best friend Jared—and Jensen’s crying out, coating Jared’s fingers with slick.
“Stay,” Jared says softly when Jensen starts to get out of bed.
“No, it’s fine. Forget it.”
Jensen stays, but it’s too late. He screwed up by not just saying yes immediately and Jared’s obviously hurt. He turns over and sleeps with his back facing Jensen and Jensen feels even more alone than he did the night before. He doesn’t stay with Jared again after that.
It steadily gets worse. The more they try to make it work, the more disastrous the dates are. And for some reason, they don’t stop fucking afterwards. If the sex was ever uncomfortable or anything less than amazing, Jensen would call the whole thing off; give up on being anything more than what they were for so many years—because that had been enough, more than enough. He wants to hate this new relationship. It ruined him and Jared. But when Jared’s behind him and Jensen’s holding the headboard, listening to the mattress protesting under them—it’s too fucking good to stop.
He wishes he’d thought of this before—before he and Jared got too close to know how to change what they have, before they’d both dragged innocent women into miserable marriages—back when they were two strangers who worked together and who seemed like they could get along. It would have been so easy to fall in love like that, knowing that’s what they were doing and acting on it. Now it won’t budge, Jensen pushes and he sees Jared pushing, but neither of their attempts move things in the direction they want. They’re stuck and Jensen doesn’t know how to go back or fix things because he wants this to work, but he knows he’ll never be able to forget the way Jared can touch and kiss and unravel him with just a single hungry look.
Jensen gets to the kitchen as Jared’s cleaning up and he doesn’t know if Jared’s early or if he’s late. They usually show up at around the same time, and they usually wait for each other. But Jensen sees a plate of peanut butter cookies and a cup of milk where he usually sits and a disappointed look on Jared’s face. They’ve been “together” for three weeks, and they’ve never been so far from each other in the entire time since they met.
“Hey,” Jensen says when Jared hovers at the sink watching him.
“Hey.” He sounds tired, worn down. Almost like he’s been beat up. Jensen realizes he’s the one who did that to him, and he has to look away.
“You’re done already.”
“Yeah. I wasn’t sure you were coming anymore.” Jensen tries not to flinch. “I can sit with you if you want.”
No point, Jensen thinks. We won’t say anything.
“That’s alright. I can eat by myself.” He didn’t mean for it to sound as awful as it comes out.
Jared frowns a little and turns to go. He pauses half to the door and turns back to Jensen.
“Are you sure?” Jared opens his mouth, looks like he has more to say, and then closes it.
Jensen is supposed to understand, he can tell from the way Jared’s looking at him, but he doesn’t. He almost asks. Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it. Jensen really will. He’s willing to change himself, to do anything that Jared asks so that he can hear that fucked out voice he never expected from his dorky best friend and still be able to call him that in the morning.
He knows Jared would just take it wrong, so he doesn’t ask. Instead he shrugs dismissively and Jared is obviously not surprised. He leaves the room brusquely; Jensen hears him close the door too loudly. Which is weird, Jensen thinks. Jared’s been sleeping with his door open for weeks.
He doesn’t realize until he’s finishing the last cookie that it was an invitation. That Jared wanted Jensen to follow him to bed, not for sex, but because he needs comfort and he thought Jensen would provide it. He missed it for so many nights that Jared finally gave up. Jensen’s head drops between his hands.
For maybe seven years, Jared and Jensen could say anything to each other, and they usually didn’t have to. Everything was implicit between them. Now Jensen can’t read what Jared desperately wants him to, and Jared doesn’t feel free to say it.
That’s when everything hits Jensen at once. This isn’t something new to him. This is what Jensen does. Ruining what he had with Danneel—that was a nightmare, that was more than Jensen thought he could handle. Ruining what he had with Jared isn’t possible. Jared is Jensen’s one sure thing. He always, always, always is supposed to be able to count on Jared and he cannot possibly have found a way to screw that up. Not after everything Jared has done for him, not when Jared needs him. Jensen’s never been terribly pleasant, but he didn’t used to be a bad guy. It feels like the more Jensen loves someone, the worse it goes. Jensen thought what happened with Danneel was a tragedy—Jared is so much more that trying to picture how bad it can get sends tremors down his spine. When he drives Jared away, there won’t be anyone left to try to fix him. There won’t be anyone who could come close to succeeding at it.
They don’t sleep at night, and they both know it, but after that, they do it alone. Jensen turned something easy and beautiful into hard and ugly in record time.
They only get close now when there’s an excuse. Fucking? Sure, okay. That’s when they can kiss and cling to each other like they both need to. Jensen seeks it out more than he wants it, because it’s all they have left and he can’t go without Jared. Maybe Jared does it for the same reason, but it feels less like that every time they touch. It starts feeling dirty, shameful even. Something they’re not supposed to do. It drives a gap between them and the more they do it, the further they slip. It was supposed to bring them closer.
Outside of that, they can’t so much as think about touching. Jared’s hand brushes against Jensen’s leg one day when he’s reaching for the remote and Jared apologizes. Jensen nearly breaks down and cries right there in the middle of Law and Order.
Jensen has no one left to spend his time with and he wouldn’t want to see anyone if he did. He starts turning to anything he can to feel close to Jared again. He slips books from Jared’s shelf, knowing how well Jared’s loved them, memorizing the way he creases the spine and getting choked up and achy when Jared’s handwriting fills the margin, sometimes with the serious analytical notes his mama taught him to make and then some things that are all Jared, stupid comments making fun of characters and weird references that Jensen has to google to get, but which Jared obviously had right there on the top of his head. He thinks he hears Jared listening to the CD he lost last week. Jensen doesn’t know if that makes him feel better or worse.
Jared’s playing one of those Mario Brothers games when Jensen gets home. Jensen hates them, but Jared is already engrossed and Jensen is just so thankful for the chance to sit with Jared and be able to pretend they’re okay that he goes with it.
It’s Mario Kart and Jared’s playing Luigi. Jensen used to make all kinds of fun of Jared for liking those games, because they seriously look like the kind of thing you’re supposed to grow out of at 13. They’re both grown men, he used to say, shouldn’t they be playing violent war games on their time off? But this time Jensen just sits down, grabs the extra controller, and waits until the next round to jump in. For a few seconds, Jared makes the same annoyed face he used to make when he could feel the bitchy comments coming, but Jensen doesn’t have the energy to make them and he thinks Jared would rather not hear them. Jared lets out a testy sigh before getting the game started.
They play in dead silence—no victory teasing from Jared, no cursing from Jensen—for twenty minutes before Jared stands up and throws down his controller.
“I hate this.”
Jensen watches him leave, still completely quiet because he has no idea what to say to that. He hates it, too, or parts of it. But he can’t go back on it, and Jared deserves to be loved the way Jensen loves him. Jensen just wishes it was someone who deserved Jared, too, someone who could make him happy instead of draining Jared of all the positive energy that makes him who he is.
Jared’s already at the door when he stops. He doesn’t look at Jensen and his voice is fragile when he speaks.
“I didn’t mean…I’m not sorry we, whatever. Fell in love. I just. I don’t know how to date you, Jensen. And I really, really hate this.”
He leaves the room and Jensen decides it’s time to let him off the hook.
“Are you baking?”
Jensen turns to face Jared and tries not to turn bright red. Jared wasn’t supposed to be home for a few hours, giving Jensen time to destroy the evidence.
“Wow. That’s special.”
Jared looks like he’s about to head down the hall to his room and Jensen calls out for him to stop and sit down. Jared is obviously surprised, but he obeys, sitting at the table and looking at Jensen with clenched up, questioning eyebrows.
Jensen sets a plate down in front of him and Jared turns to look out the window as if Jensen will immediately snatch it away when he realizes the sun is still up. Jensen doesn’t actually remember the last time he ate cookies during the day.
“You baked cookies with fruit in them? Oh, God. You’ve finally lost it. Are you going to kill me? Are you going to bake me?”
Jensen can’t help laughing, even though it hurts. It’s the easiest conversation they’ve had in weeks and it’s been less than two minutes.
“Have one,” Jensen demands, grabbing Jared’s mug off the shelf.
“No way am I eating a cookie that has…are they cranberries? Dude, you put cranberries in a cookie. I think that’s a sin. I think you’re going to Hell for this.”
“I think I was already going to Hell.” Jared doesn’t seem to think it’s very funny. “They’re called Cowboy Cookies, Jared, and they’re delicious. My mom gave me the recipe.”
“I guess if they’re Cowboy Cookies.” Jared takes the bait. Jensen knew he would. It gives him hope, the fact that this conversation isn’t a complete failure—Jensen thinks that’s a sign that he’s doing the right thing, even if a huge part of him hates it.
Jared grabs one of the smallest ones on his plate and sniffs at it tentatively for a second like he’s making sure it’s not poisoned. Then he breaks off a piece and pops it into his mouth and Jensen doesn’t know why it means so much to him, but when Jared immediately finishes the rest of it and starts complimenting them through stuffed cheeks, a load lifts from his back.
Jared swallows three or four before he slows down and looks at Jensen. Jensen’s been quiet the whole time, watching Jared without blinking because it’s the first time he’s seen him with his guard down in much, much too long.
“You didn’t bake me cookies for nothing, Jensen.” Jared looks away nervously.
“I. We need to talk.”
Jared laughs friendlessly. “Yeah, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?”
“Well, that’s what we need to talk about.”
“You want to talk about the fact that we’re not talking?”
“I want to talk about the fact that this obviously isn’t working.”
Jensen says it too quickly, doesn’t ease Jared into it like he’d wanted to, and he can see Jared reacting badly under his deceptively calm posture. His eyes go big and dark at the same time, like he can’t find a balance between hurt and angry.
“I’ll go then.”
“It’s your house now. You don’t want me here. Fine. Fair enough.”
“That’s not what I—“
“What then? You want me to stay here when you’re fucking dumping me? What for? We’re not even friends at this point, so if we’re not...you know what? I’d rather just go then.”
“Jay, please, please just hear me out, okay?”
Jared won’t look at him but he gives a grudging shrug and lets Jensen keep going.
“This is kicking our asses, Jared. And, it’s not worth it. I mean, it’s great. Really. It’s worth a lot. But it’s not worth our friendship. I’d rather just…just go back. Don’t you think we can do that? We can just be us again and…and we’ll forget we ever tried to make it more and…please. I just want a best friend again, and it can’t be anyone but you.”
“You really think we can do that after…”
“I think we need to try. Because just fucking? Come on. This is a nightmare for both of us, man.”
“I don’t get it. We work as friends and we definitely work as…I mean, what we’re doing, it doesn’t exactly suck. Why can’t we be both? It should be so easy to make this work.”
“I know. But it isn’t.”
“It isn’t,” Jared agrees.
“We have to choose and there’s only one option, Jared. We went nine years without fucking and we never missed it.”
“But now? You think we can just ignore everything?”
“I think we have to.”
Jared doesn’t look like he likes it, but he agrees anyway.
“Look, I gotta…I need to think for a bit.”
“Yeah, of course.”
Jared gets up to go and stops, leans down to where Jensen’s sitting.
“Last time,” he whispers, pulling Jensen’s lips up to meet his with a tender grip that makes lust curl in Jensen’s belly and, fuck, of course Jared isn’t going to make this easy for him.
Jensen knows it’ll take work to get things back to normal, he expects it. He’s sick and tired of having great expectations and getting let down. But this mess with Jared, there’s no way for it not to let him down, even when things are going (comparatively) smoothly.
He and Jared aren’t where they used to be, but they’re already pretty fucking close. As soon as the pressure of being together is lifted, as soon as they can go back to their usual roles, they’re still Jared and Jensen and Jensen is so relieved that the only thing he didn’t permanently destroy is the one thing he couldn’t live with losing. He didn’t break what he has with Jared. He maybe cracked it, but he learned from Danneel and this time, he got out before the pressure snapped. He’s almost proud of himself. It’s not like giving Jared up had been easy, but he finally did the right thing.
Saying that it goes effortlessly, however, is not terribly accurate. Their words are all them and they do the same things they used to, but they move like they’re made out of glass. There’s no sudden movements, no teasing punches, no Jared-is-a-hugger. There are just some parts of their past friendship that have to be compromised. Jensen wants to believe it’s something they’ll get over, that when they cool down and forget how perfectly they fit together, they’ll be able to interact without keeping arm’s length between them at all times.
They tried reverting entirely into their old habits. After one blissful day of being friends again, comfortable and easy and fucking laughing, they forgot. Forgot what they were trying to kill, what was still swimming just under the surface. Jared let his head rest on Jensen’s shoulder and Jensen could smell his shampoo until Jared turned to look at him. Jared’s breath skimmed Jensen’s neck and it was damn near impossible for Jensen to pretend that he didn’t know what that hot air would taste like. They broke apart and stared and Jensen didn’t have to see that Jared was hard to know that he wasn’t the only one getting ideas that didn’t exactly fit into the platonic relationship they were going for.
“I have to. Get something. Downstairs,” Jensen said. Jared bit his bottom lip and took off for his room just as quickly.
Jensen jerked off fast and messy when he got downstairs, wondering what Jared was thinking about. He hoped it was his lips swollen around Jared’s cock, because that’s what he thought of and, wanting the same thing, even if they couldn’t have it, would almost be like being together in some way.
Things are mostly back to normal in a month, but Jensen still doesn’t see it coming when Jared shows that, despite how much Jensen stills wants him, he’s completely over whatever did or did not happen between them.
“I have a date tomorrow.”
Jensen recoils from the slap to his face that Jared delivered from across the room. His blood boils and he’s about to say something when he remembers he has no right. Jared isn’t his. He can go on as many dates as he wants. He’s been divorced for a while now and why should Jensen have assumed there would be a mourning period for him? They never had anything, not really. They fucked for a few months, that’s all it ever was, no matter what they called it. And then…then Jensen gave him up.
It was for the best, a bitter little voice in the back of his head says. Remember?
He stands up, planning to walk out of the room, to try to throw his jealous fit elsewhere, but Jared is just standing there, looking completely innocent, and Jensen can’t stand to hurt his feelings.
“Hey, that’s awesome. With who?”
“Her name’s Amber. She’s playing my love interest for a few episodes and she’s a cool girl.” Jared shrugs. “She asked and I. Well, why not, right?”
Because you’re mine.
“No reason not to. I hope it goes well, man. Just let me know if I can do anything for you, alright?”
“Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that.”
Jared heads to bed early, says he’s sick. Jensen thinks he’s been passive aggressive all night. He doesn’t know what Jared has to be upset about. He did his best to act the way he used to act when Jared went on dates, when he was genuinely happy for his friend and not selfish and injured over it. So he didn’t smile as much as he could have or ask for all the details Jared could supply. Jensen is only human. There’s only so much he can hurt himself for the sake of making sure Jared doesn’t feel guilty.
Jensen is selfish. He’s done caring about that. He’s being physically tortured and Jared is doing it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not on purpose, it’s ugly. This shouldn’t be allowed. Jensen sits at home for four excruciating hours waiting. Waiting. Staring at the television. Definitely not at the door. The door just happens to be somewhat close to the television, if Jensen leans far enough to see around the corner. Which Jensen doesn’t do. Often.
He doesn’t understand how Jared can do this. Jensen tries to imagine going out with anyone but Jared and the thought won’t even shape itself it’s so wrong. He’s mostly resigned himself to living the rest of his life like this, celibate and thinking of Jared while Jared’s a foot away thinking of him and never being able to act on that. It’s ridiculous, and Jensen knows that, but it hadn’t seemed so bad when they were going to live the rest of their lives in pathetic sexless purgatory together. Now Jensen’s gearing up for a life full of nights like this: Jared going out, Jared letting other people touch him, Jensen sitting at home climbing the walls with jealousy. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do when Jared starts to get attached, when he falls in love with someone else and moves out, leaving Jensen alone. Going crazy doesn’t seem drastic enough.
He tries not to wonder how it’s going, but he can’t help it. It’s like a movie that won’t stop looping: Jared driving her home, kissing her, touching her. Jensen knows how fast Jared’s hands stray once he gets started and Jensen bets she’s letting him get away with it. Jared immediately unbuttons her jeans, he slips long fingers into her right there in the car—knowing the things Jared can do with those hands, Jensen thinks she probably begs him to come inside with her.
He doesn’t stop questioning what’s happening: what’s different now, what’s the same? Is Jared as thirsty for her as he used to be hungry for Jensen, does his tongue seek her out and tear her apart just like that? Does he smooth big hands over her hair as she sucks him off, or does he tangle his fingers in the longer strands, preferring it to Jensen’s close cut? He nearly chokes when he pictures him fucking her—letting her ride him, because Jared always liked it better when Jensen was having his way, and then flipping her on her back, fucking her through the floor once she’s close. Jared could never control himself at that point and, somehow, he always knew what would feel good for Jensen better than Jensen did.
Jensen doubts Jared thinks of him at all, except to thrill in all the things she can offer that he couldn’t. He hates it, but he still gets so turned on he has to pull his dick out in the middle of the movie he wasn’t watching and fuck himself within an inch of his life. Jensen doesn’t even know what the girl looks like, but he spends most of the night obsessing over it. At first he decides she’s blonde, skinny—pretty but not Jared’s type. Jared won’t like her that much. As the hours drag on, he changes his mind. She’s a curvy brunette with one of those sweet laughs Jared can’t help falling for. He’s already over Jensen.
Jared gets in around 11. Jensen watches as both of the dogs abandon their spots next to him on the couch to greet him, but he doesn’t move. He doesn’t want to see if Jared’s smiling.
“You’re home early,” Jensen calls out from the living room. Jared doesn’t respond until he’s leaning in the doorway.
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
“How was it?”
Jensen makes a conscious effort to look sorry instead of smug. He’s an actor. He can manage that much for his friend’s sake.
“What went wrong?”
Jared watches Jensen for a long time. “I fucked her.”
It’s like a punch to the gut. “Oh.”
“Oh? That’s all you have to say?”
“I don’t know what else there is for me to say, Jared. What am I supposed—?”
“If you don’t know, I really don’t see the point of telling you.”
“I’m sorry the sex was bad?” Jensen tries.
“It wasn’t bad, Jensen. It was fine. In fact, it would have been great, except I couldn’t even fucking finish without…whatever. I’m going to bed.”
“Jared, wait. Just. Tell me what you want me to say right now and, whatever it is, I’ll say it.”
“Stop it, Jensen. Stop being so goddamned meek all the time. There’s nothing that you’re supposed to say—I was just hoping you’d have a little more input than ‘oh’. Like, I don’t know, maybe you could stop asking bullshit questions and admit that you’re pissed at me. And that you’re jealous. And that this isn’t ever going to work.”
Jared advances on him and Jensen has nowhere to go. He stands and backs up a little, but Jared just keeps getting closer.
“Just fucking say something, please. I know how much you hate this. I know how much we both do. Why can’t you just acknowledge what’s wrong so we can try to fix it instead of pulling this weepy polite act?”
“Because I’m trying not to drive you away, idiot!”
Jared bunches his fists in Jensen’s shirt and gets right up in his face.
“Are you serious right now? That’s what all of this is about, you think you’re gonna drive me away? You’re such a moron sometimes, man. How many times do I have to tell you I’m not going anywhere before you believe it?”
Jensen shakes his head. Looks away. Jared doesn’t know, because Jared wasn’t there. Jensen is doing the same thing he did to Danneel and again, the more he tries, the worse things get. After three years with Danneel, he’s burnt out on trying.
“Jensen—” Jared’s voice goes soft and his fingers cup Jensen’s face. It’s too tender, too scary. Jensen pulls away.
“No, Jared. Fuck you, okay? I’m trying so hard and you just keep making things difficult. Why can’t you let me deal with it my way? I’m letting you deal with it in yours. I hate it and I’m doing everything I can to pretend I don’t.”
“Stop pretending, then.”
“I’m tired, Jay. I just want something to be easy again for five minutes. I am so tired of trying.”
“That’s my point. When have we ever had to try? I mean, come on. Do you remember what we used to be like? Everything went wrong when we started trying. So just stop and it’ll work.”
“It won’t, Jared. It’ll only get worse.”
“You can’t be stupid enough to think that. Of course it can work. Jensen, if I can’t believe in this, I can’t believe in anything.”
Jared closes in and Jensen’s shaking he wants it so bad. Jared’s charged with all this anger, but Jensen knows the kiss is going to be soft and adoring and he nearly gives in. It’s the first time they really fight about this, and Jensen remembers how good making up had been with Danneel, too. Until it got to the point where they didn’t make up anymore.
Jared looks genuinely shocked, he doesn’t believe Jensen’s serious and keeps drawing in until his lips are ghosting Jensen’s.
“I mean it. The answer is no.”
Jared lets go of Jensen’s shirt and shoves him away. “Yeah, I heard you.”
“Jared, it’s better. One day you’ll see it’s—“
Jared leaves the room, but not before promising Jensen they were both going to regret this if they kept it up.
Jensen’s a little afraid of facing Jared the next morning, but things are surprisingly calm. Jared’s quiet, but not in the way he was when things had been really bad between them. He smiles over breakfast, he tells Jensen to have a good day at work, he tries to be okay with what Jensen still thinks is the only way.
When they both get home from their studios, they order in and sprawl out on the couch, watching their usual line-up of bad television.
Jensen is jolted awake by a foot in his side and he realizes he drifted off.
“Hey, man. You should get to bed.”
Jensen kicks back. “Don’t tell me what to do,” he says, though it comes out too slurred to be taken seriously.
Jared snorts. “You speak beautifully when you’re half asleep. Really, you do.”
“I’m awake enough to kick your ass,” Jensen says, one eye open and fixed on Jared.
“Bring it on, sleeping beauty.”
Jensen throws his empty soda can at Jared, just because it’s the first thing he can reach, and Jared easily deflects it with a cushion. Jensen hears the whooshing sound as Jared brings the pillow down on his face and he’s now more awake than he ever intended to be. He sits up and smacks Jared on the shoulder.
“You’re a shit.”
“So I’m told.”
Jared pushes back and Jensen doesn’t realize that this entire mess was premeditated until he’s wrestled Jared down on to the couch and Jared stops struggling. His eyes move to Jensen’s mouth and Jensen can’t help mirroring the action, licking his lips as he settles on Jared’s.
“Do it,” Jared says, out of breath but without the slightest lack of confidence. “Jensen. Come on. Do it.”
Jensen doesn’t. He sits up and moves back to his side of the couch.
“Yeah, okay. I give up.” Jared stands and whistles, Harley and Sadie immediately trot into the room and Harley goes directly to Jared’s side but Sadie makes a pit stop by the couch. Jensen gives her the attention she’s begging for and Jared calls her to no avail.
“You wanna stay with Jensen tonight?” Jared walks over and she jumps up on him, licking half of his face in one quick motion. Jared smiles and pats her down. He looks over at Jensen and Jensen accepts, seeing the peace offering for what it is. “Aren’t you a lucky girl?”
“Asshole,” Jensen mutters, but Jared looks over at him and Jensen realizes he meant it. He looks sad again, not angry anymore, and Jensen wishes he knew some way to make Jared smile that didn’t involve complicating the moments when they’re messing around the way they did before.
That weekend Jared goes to one of the cast parties he used to love dragging Jensen along to and comes back early in the morning, impressively drunk and not alone. Jensen is woken up and when he gets upstairs to see what the problem is, he’s met by a guy he’s never seen before. He’s dark skinned and looks like some kind of underwear model and Jensen almost thinks he’s hallucinating, because no way is Jared doing something this cruel. The guy looks at Jensen and smiles like he hadn’t realized just how lucky he was getting.
“Hi, I’m Michael, I’m here with—“
Jared appears at his side and tugs his arm.
“You gonna stare at Jensen all night, or you gonna come fuck me?”
The guy doesn’t hesitate long enough to send Jensen a second glance before he’s following Jared down the hall. Jensen’s hands ball into fists because it’s finally too much. Jared never let anyone fuck him, not until Jensen did it, and now he’s sharing that with a complete stranger. Bringing him home so Jensen can hear it. Jensen gets the message loud and clear.
Jared’s sitting at the dining room table cradling his head when Jensen finds him the next day.
“Morning,” he says shortly.
“Fuck you,” Jensen replies. Jared looks up.
“Wow, it’s gonna be a good day, huh?”
“What you did last night was completely uncalled for.”
“What I did last night is none of your goddamn business.”
“Yeah right, Jared. Like you didn’t intend for that to hurt me as much as it did.”
“Newsflash, Jensen, you’re the one who won’t fuck me. I’m just trying to deal with it and I’m allowed to get laid in my own house. So cut the shitty attitude, I’m really not going to walk on broken glass to make sure you’re okay right now.”
“No, look, you’ve gotten me started and I’m going to finish. I’ve been patient with you for months now because I felt bad that you were screwed up over what happened with Danneel, but you know what? Get the fuck over it, man. It’s not the same situation with us. And if you’re going to go on like this forever, I can’t stop you, but I can’t live like a priest. Shit, Jensen, I’m turned on all the time because of you. Do you know why I fucked that guy? And the girl last week? I was pretending it was you. I swear to God, I have never done that to anyone in my life, but I did it to them. So if you don’t wanna get used to what happened last night—that’s great fucking news! I am all for stopping as soon as you quit cowering like a goddamn trapped animal and give me a chance to make this work.”
Jared glares at Jensen, but Jensen’s too shocked to say anything. He’d forgotten that Jared is brutally honest when hungover; Jared had never really had anything serious and pent-up to unleash on Jensen in one of these moods. He needs a few minutes to process it all.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Now, I’m going to go nurse my hangover and feel sorry for myself for a change.”
Jared nods and looks satisfied. He stands up to leave but before he can, Jensen grabs his hands and kisses him and Jared takes a few seconds to pick up on what’s going on, but as soon as he does, he kisses back hard, frustrated and thankful at once.
“You are never bringing anyone but me home again,” Jensen instructs and Jared just nods as if he’s been waiting to have Jensen dictate his life for years. “Good. Okay. Settled. Drink some water and stop being such a girl.”
Jensen is, to put it in Jared’s words, finally putting out. A huge part of his brain still thinks it’s an awful idea, but the more Jared touches him, the more he can’t stand the thought of Jared doing it to anyone else.
Their friendship doesn’t suffer. Jensen refuses to acknowledge it, but it actually recovers. It’s like before, before anything happened between them. They’re just themselves, only now they know how much it really means and it’s perfect, it’s exactly what Jensen had been dreaming of before things had gotten inexplicably awkward and crumbled in front of his eyes. Jensen doesn’t trust it. It’s too good and he keeps waiting, watching for that one little thing that will be the end of them.
It doesn’t come. It won’t come. Jensen waits a week, then two, then a month. It still doesn’t come. It’s terrifying. He can’t believe, not even when Jared so obviously does. He’s too happy to relax and say “this is how it is from now on.” He just wants whatever awful thing is going to happen to happen so he can get it over with. So he can start trying to get used to it.
Eventually he starts getting used to the idea that maybe they really are working instead. It finally feels right—Jensen needs to be sure it really is.
“I’m not eating those,” Jared whines.
“They look like sh—”
“Yes, I know what they look like. They’re delicious.”
“They have oatmeal.”
“Don’t be an asswipe.”
“Dude, you’re eating an asswipe.”
“Gross.” Jensen puts his cookie down for a few seconds and forces himself to swallow what was already in his mouth. “If you’re not going to try them, at least don’t ruin them for me.”
“You know there are scientific laws disproving the existence of no bake cookies, right? What you’re eating is an abomination.”
“That is the nerdiest argument I think I have ever heard in my life.”
Jared bows grandly and nearly smacks his head on the table. Jensen snickers.
“Just try one.”
“I’ll blow you.”
Jared grabs a cookie and makes a grand show of taking a bite. Jensen applauds.
“No, yeah, this is truly disgusting.” Jared takes another bite anyway.
“Whatever. More for me.”
“Please don’t get fat, Jensen. You have very few redeeming qualities.”
“Actually, I think the deal was that you’re going to have to suck it for me.”
Jensen shrugs. It’s not exactly a hardship. They sit for a few strained moments before Jared reaches out and covers Jensen’s hand with his own.
“Hey, you alright? You seem tense.”
Jensen bites his lip. “I want to have a Conversation.”
“Oh, God. I heard capital letters in there.”
Jensen laughs and lets the anxiety drain out of him. He knows it’s going to be alright, because Jared’s making fun of him.
“What are we doing, Jay?”
“Not what I meant, smartass.”
“Taking a break in between deliciously sinful sessions of gay sex?”
“Well, actually, you’re getting warmer.”
“You really still don’t get it, huh?”
“Shit, I’m kind of worried you’ll go out of your way to ruin it if I tell you.” Jared slows down and speaks as if he’s instructing a class of third graders, “Everything, Jensen. We’ve got it all.”
“And…you’re really serious about that?”
“Dead serious.” Jared makes a cartoonishly stoic face for a few seconds before dropping it and letting real concern show. “Hey, come on. Will you trust me? This is us, of course it’s serious.”
Jensen nods. He did know that. Sometimes he just needs to hear Jared say things to double-check. “Good. I think we should tell people, then.”
“Yeah. We could do that.” Jensen doesn’t remember the last time he saw anyone smile that wide.
Jared and Jensen’s parties have always been pretty legendary, so it isn’t hard to get most of their friends to show up on short notice. It is, however, pretty difficult to get them to all settle down long enough to make an important announcement before they get into the beer stash.
“Everyone sit down and shut the fuck up,” Jensen finally has to yell over the noise. For a few seconds his friends quirk eyebrows at each other from across the room, but eventually they all sit down and look in Jensen’s direction. He takes a seat on the couch next to Jared and swallows hard.
“Jared and I have something we want to tell all of you before the party starts.” Everyone’s eyes are fixed on Jensen and, for the first time in his life, he gets stage fright. “Jared, go ahead and tell them.”
Jared glares. “Well, umm. See, Jensen and I are, well…we’re together.”
Jensen waits for chaos to break out but there’s little response. Everyone continues to look at them attentively.
“Yeah, no shit,” Chris laughs.
“Hey, man, shut up. Your friend is trying to tell you something.” Steve looks from Chris back to Jensen. “Ignore him. You may continue.”
“Oh. Umm. That was pretty much all we had to say.”
“Well, no shit.” This time it’s Steve’s turn to cut in. Jensen tries to look betrayed. “Sorry but, I mean, really. No shit, Jensen.”
“You guys didn’t actually think you were being discreet, right?” Jason asks.
“Uh, yeah. We kind of did,” Jensen says. He turns to Jared who looks as confounded as Jensen feels.
“So hold on a minute. You all know?”
“Yeah, man. I mean, it’s only been going on for like six years now,” Chris says, rolling his eyes.
“No it hasn’t. It’s only been a few months, maybe a year,” Steve argues.
“Bullshit. That was going on way before I was ever on that show.”
“Who even invited you?” Jensen snaps at Aldis, who points at Chris defensively.
“Hey, come on now. Don’t take it out on him that you guys have all the subtlety of a purple elephant.”
“I thought it happened after Jared broke up with his girlfriend?” Jason sounds genuinely confused, like he hadn’t realized there could be a debate on the subject.
“No,” Genevieve says softly. She looks at Jensen and he thinks there’s accusation in her tone. “It happened at Jensen’s wedding.”
Jensen breaks eye contact with her and feels sick. It makes sense to him that Genevieve would think that. Jared’s divorce had never made much sense to Jensen. He should have thought a little harder about where Genevieve was coming from. Of course she didn’t just wake up one morning not wanting Jared, Jared is impossible not to want. It was his fault. He’d ruined Jared’s marriage, too.
He thinks he should say he’s sorry to her, but he can’t bring himself to lie. He has Jared now, he can’t help being glad. He wishes she hadn’t gotten hurt, but he can’t regret it. She must see the guilt playing out in his head, because she reaches out and gives his arm a friendly squeeze.
“Hey, it’s okay, Jensen. I’m over, well, I’m happy for you both.” She sounds genuine, if a little gloomy. Jensen nods, but he has to get away from the sad look she’s giving him, so he excuses himself.
“I still say it was the girlfriend thing that did it,” Jason says.
“Yeah, that’s what we thought, too.” Tom indicates himself and Mike.
Mike nods along. “I mean, that’s when Jensen moved in here. If that doesn’t scream buttsex, I don’t know what does.”
Jensen hears the debate continue behind him as he leaves. He tries to steady himself against the wall in the hallway outside the living room and absorb what just happened.
“Easy solution, morons,” Chris says. “Jared, tell us. When did you and Jensen become gay lovers?”
“I…I don’t know anymore.”
Jensen can hear how lost Jared is and for a moment he feels guilty, like he left Jared in front of the firing squad.
“Excuse me.” Jared joins him in the hallway and closes the door behind him. “That is not how I expected this to go.”
“Do you think everyone we ever talked to knows?”
“Everyone except for us, apparently.”
“Do you think my parents know?”
“Makes telling them a lot less scary?”
“That’s a silver lining.”
“We figured it out eventually, didn’t we?”
“That’s another silver lining,” Jensen murmurs as Jared leans into a kiss.
Jensen pulls away after a while and hears that the conversation has taken an even more embarrassing turn.
“Dude, are they fighting over which one of us tops?”
“Sounds more like they’re agreeing about it.”
Jensen listens for half a minute or so and scowls. “Fuck, dude. Why does everyone think I’m the bottom?”
“It’s gotta be the eyelashes.” Jared kisses one of Jensen’s eyelids and he’s about to do the other when Chris sticks his head out of the room.
“Hey, girls, this is really touching, but before you start your lesbian lovefest, are we allowed into the beer now?” Jensen laughs into Jared’s neck.
“Yeah, Chris, go crazy. And, uh, you’re in charge of music tonight.”
“Mmm, I’m guessing you didn’t just relinquish your incredibly tyrannical control of the night’s entertainment without a backup activity in mind.”
Jensen smirks wickedly and drags Jared to their bedroom. He figures they can skip one party. They have a lot to catch up on, after all.
As soon as the door’s closed, Jared turns and takes Jensen into his arms. His face dips until he’s whispering right into Jensen’s ear and he runs his hands down Jensen’s back.
“Can you believe that you were ten years late on that giant gay epiphany? We could have been having all this fun ages ago. It kind of breaks my heart.”
“Do you even have a heart?” Jensen asks dramatically. Jared presses an enormous hand over Jensen’s chest and smiles softly.
Jensen scoffs—not because Jared’s wrong, that really is all his—but because Jared is actually lame enough to point it out like that.
“That’s really gay, Jared.”
“You know, all of my other girlfriends always liked it when I was romantic.”
“I am not your girlfriend.”
Jared’s eyebrows draw together. “Are you sure?”
“Fuck you so hard, dude.”
Jensen tries to break out of Jared’s arms, but Jared just tightens his embrace.
“Anyway, if we’re gonna be gay, I should be allowed to act gay on occasion.”
“You had your dick up my ass last night, that was pretty gay.”
“All you think about is sex.”
“I mean, yeah, pretty much,” Jensen says, but he draws closer to Jared. He doesn’t want to say “been there, done that”, he doesn’t even really want to remember it, and Jared obviously picks up on how uncomfortable he is, because he immediately finds a way to distract him.
“You wanna fuck me now?” He whispers it so low it’s like he’s trying to make sure the walls don’t hear it and as hot as that gets Jensen, this is Jared, and he finally can’t separate the Jared he fucks from the Jared he can’t stop himself from teasing.
“That depends. If I say yes, will I then have to spend the rest of the night cuddling and watching chick flicks?”
“Hell yeah, and crying.” Jared laughs. “I’m gonna make you my cuddling bitch.”
“Well, I’m gonna make you my actual bitch, so…” Jensen points to Jared and then to himself. “Battle, war.”
Jared makes a delighted sound before tackling Jensen onto the mattress. He kisses Jensen for a long time and wraps him up completely in his body. It makes perfect sense, Jensen will admit, that Jared is a cuddler, but Jensen is still a little surprised every time that it’s him Jared’s holding on to. Maybe he’ll never be completely used to it, but at least he’s starting to trust it.
“You’re still being a girl,” Jensen whispers after a while. His hands wander down Jared’s body and he cherishes every inch of skin while trying his damnedest to make it look like it means less than it does.
“Only for you,” Jared admits, helping Jensen out of his jeans.
Jensen wants this forever and he finally knows—not thinks, or hopes, or even believes—he knows that’s how long it’s going to last.
Art ★ Fanmix ★ Author’s Notes