Fandom: Real Person Fic – J2
Genre: Cuddle!fic, hurt/comfort, flangst, and all manners of tooth rotting schmoop.
Rating: PG-13 for Language, Really Light Sexuality, and Extremely Graphic Cuddling
Word Count: 2,634
Author’s Note: Written for peppervl who greatly underestimates her fandom!Ruby powers. She asked for: “There are issues on set while Jensen is directing and he gets all stressed out about it 'cause he REALLY wants to do an awesome job and Jared cuddles it better.” Using this for the Wild Card square on my schmoop_bingo card: "I love you - first." ETA 5/7/2013: Thanks to eosrose, you can now read this in epub format here.
Summary: Non-AU: In theory, Jensen directing an episode was a great idea. In practice, things don’t exactly go as planned.
Jared could and should have seen this coming, but he didn’t, not by a mile.
Generally, Jared lives by the rule “if it makes Jensen happy, it makes me happy,” so he was psyched when Jensen told him he was finally going to direct an episode. If he’d stopped to think about logistics for five seconds, he would have figured out why the situation is problematic, but Jared’s not really a think-ahead kind of guy.
It’s not that Jensen’s any more impossible than most of the directors Jared’s worked with. Okay, he is, but it’s not like Jared isn’t an expert at putting up with and pacifying Jensen’s hissy fits. So it’s by no fault of Jensen’s that this is The Worst Idea Ever as far as Jared is concerned.
It’s all the other little things that it never would have occurred to Jared to think of, like how being contractually obligated to do everything his boyfriend tells him to makes him feel like a 1950’s housewife. Or the sting Jared can’t reason away when Jensen criticizes his work in a scene, regardless of how right he is or how nicely he phrases it—Jared can’t pretend it’s just another director doing exactly what he’s paid to do.
So, yeah. Jensen directing? Is not as awesome in practice as it was when it was neatly confined to Jared’s jerk off fantasies about bossy sex on set. You don’t really schedule time for meetings and acknowledge that your partner will be running around paying attention to other people when you’re jacking off. Not that Jared’s feeling neglected, because when Jensen is focusing on the acting aspect of the episode, Jared gets more than enough attention to last him a lifetime.
But Jensen’s good at it, Jared would be lying if he pretended otherwise. And he loves it, glows in a way that makes Jared bite back on his own complaints and smile, because that really is more important and they can both be proud of this when all is said and done.
The first two days of shooting go off without a hitch, or at least without a hitch more serious than “Jared kind of misses having someone to talk to while they sit around and wait for the next scene to be ready.” Jensen blabbers on throughout the entire ride home both days, tells Jared about everything he was there to see for himself over dinner, and Jared can’t take his eyes off him or get over how different it is from the Jensen who usually has to put up with his rambling and only says something when it’s going to add to the conversation (or make Jared look like an idiot).
When they get to the set the next morning, Jensen’s still all smiles and perfect confidence and Jared is thinking that he could really get used to it when it all gets shot to shit.
They’re standing in line for breakfast at the food tent, and the camera guys a few people ahead of them are carrying on a conversation much louder than any discussion should be before the sun’s even come up.
“I know, right? Guy has no idea what he’s doing. Hate it when these no-brain actors get delusions and the networks encourage them.”
“Right? Hey, I want to direct an episode, where’s my paycheck?”
The other guy snickers. “Maybe if you were a little prettier.”
“Fucking joke, having to take orders from him. It’ll be fun to see how hard the episode bombs, though.”
Jared’s fists tighten and if it weren’t for the fact that the assholes finish getting their food and walk off right after that, there’s a good chance Jared would have knocked one of them out. He turns to Jensen to see if he heard and sees the stricken look Jensen’s trying to hide. His face is placid, but all of the excitement and energy of the last two days has died and been replaced by something so sad Jared nearly has to reach out and draw him in right there in front of everyone.
“Jen, they’re idiots.”
Jensen doesn’t say anything. His jaw tightens and he looks down at the buffet like they haven’t been having the same plate of scrambled eggs and toast every morning for five years.
“Seriously, come on. You’re doing great. You know you’re doing great. You’ve seen the footage! Everyone else has said so. It’s just two guys and they’re jealous.”
“I’m sure you feel that way, Jared.”
Jared bites his lip and tries to think of something to say. It’s not like he hasn’t been there. Jensen’s got the respect of almost everyone even loosely affiliated with the show and even the people he’s never talked to before have gone out of their way to tell him he’s doing fantastic. But it’s the two assholes in line that are going to stick out and there’s no way Jared can change that.
“Jensen, I wouldn’t lie to you.”
“I know you wouldn’t, Jay, but it’s not like you’re unbiased.”
“Seriously, don’t let them ruin this for you.”
“I’m not,” Jensen snaps. “What do I care what they think?”
There’s no conviction in it and before Jared can reply, Jensen grabs a coffee and announces that he’s skipping breakfast to get some extra work in and he’ll be in his trailer if anyone needs him. Jared watches him turn and walk off in a huff, completely powerless to do anything to help. He wonders if it really is too late to pick that fight or if it would ultimately serve Jensen’s interests more for Jared to let sleeping dogs lie and keep his job.
“Fuck,” he says to no one, and he almost doesn’t feel like having breakfast himself. Almost.
Taking a page out of Dean’s book, Jensen is all detached smiles and steady instructions by the time Jared meets up with him on set. It’s for the best that he fake confidence now, Jared thinks. They can get through the work day and he can talk Jensen off the ledge later. It’ll probably be easier then, anyway, since Jensen will have some time to realize how irrational it is to take everything people say about him to heart and will have gained some genuine confidence when he sees how well the day goes.
Only it doesn’t quite work out like that. Jensen’s already demanding expectations kick up about twelve levels and when a scene doesn’t go exactly according to plan, Jensen gets steadily worse at hiding his panic. By noon, he’s stretched so thin Jared doesn’t even think a quick trailer blowjob will help. Not that Jensen has time for it anyway, because he works through lunch, too.
Jared has basically had it with the entire fucking endeavor by the time they’re shooting the last scene and, of course, horror of horrors, that’s the hardest scene they’ve shot for the episode to date. Things keep going wrong—nothing major, just usual real world problems: light bulbs burning out, imperfect props, Misha being too high to remember all of his lines on the first go. But by the time Jensen has to call it a day, they still haven’t gotten the scene to where Jensen wants it and as much as that was a result of teamwork, of dozens of cast and crew members screwing up, Jensen takes it all on his shoulders.
There is no babbling in the car, or at dinner, there is no glowing, gorgeous Jensen for Jared to watch. Jensen’s stoic, Jared’s attempts to cheer him up are repeatedly shut down until he gives up, and the crew is apparently oblivious to how miserable Jensen is and keeps coming up to say nice things, which somehow only makes it worse.
Jensen goes to bed earlier than usual and Jared doesn’t want to risk letting him fall asleep in his sour mood, so he gets ready to turn in shortly thereafter. Jensen is still awake when Jared gets in, which Jared expected. He’s got an arm tucked behind his pillow and one of those faces that means he’s thinking way too hard and needs a distraction.
He doesn’t shift when Jared pulls the covers over himself. It’s the first time Jensen’s automatic response isn’t to curl into him in years. Even when they fight, Jensen never gives Jared the cold shoulder like this.
Jared knows he should give Jensen his space, but it’s against his DNA and since when has Jared done what he should do, anyway? He decides that if Jensen won’t come to him, he’ll go to Jensen.
Jensen makes an annoyed sound when Jared crawls over to him, nudging at Jensen’s arm with his face until Jensen lifts it to let Jared crawl into the cranny there and lie half on top of Jensen’s chest. Despite himself, Jensen hooks his arm around Jared’s neck and his other hand comes up to rest on Jared’s right side, thumb stroking his ribs while four fingers drum on his back absently. It’s kind of awkward— Jared’s body overflows and Jensen’s arm can’t wrap all the way around his back to hold him—but it’s something.
“Get out of your head before it explodes, Jensen.”
“Dude, give me a break. I’m not about to jump off a building or anything.”
“But you are doubting yourself and getting sulk all over my bed.”
Jared sits up in time to catch Jensen’s impressive eye roll.
“Hey,” he says. “Look at me.”
Jensen doesn’t, so Jared reaches out and turns his face.
“I have something important to say.”
Jensen scowls, his expression screaming, “I don’t want to hear it.” Jared moves forward quickly, pecking a kiss on the end of Jensen’s nose. Jensen’s lips twitch, a clear effort to preserve his bad mood, and Jared takes advantage of the progress by pushing his hand up Jensen’s shirt. He doesn’t apply enough pressure for it to count as tickling—because there’s gay and then there’s full-grown men having a tickle fight—but it’s enough to make Jensen squirm a little and smile against his will.
“Talk,” Jared says in his serious voice. Jensen grumbles out a few more protests before he gives in to the stern look on Jared’s face.
“I just wanted it to be perfect,” Jensen finally says. There’s something else in the way he looks at Jared and Jared is not surprised by how easily he reads it. He’s been hearing the things Jensen can’t bring himself to say for years now. I wanted it to be perfect for you.
“Jensen, nothing’s perfect. But this episode? So far? It’s fucking close. It’s so great and I’m so proud.”
Jensen swallows hard and shakes his head. “It’s not how it’s supposed to be. I had all these ideas and none of it—”
Jared stops him with a kiss. “It’s your first time. You’re being too critical. The stuff that you’re freaking out about? That shit happens to everyone, no matter how experienced you are—you’ve seen it go on for years. You just can’t be objective right now. But come on, you think lights don’t go out on Spielberg? You think Scorsese could get Misha to stop smoking up in his trailer?”
Jensen chuckles. “Not unless he’s magical.”
“That’s my point!”
Jensen sticks his tongue out. “You do know I really hate it when you ruin my bad moods, right?”
“I live to torment you.”
“That explains the gas.”
Jared smiles and moves a little higher up, until his lips brush Jensen’s ear.
“You want to direct me, Jensen?” He whispers low and puts as much heat into it as possible. Jared feels Jensen’s pulse speed up a little, but he pulls away.
“Ouch,” Jared says, aiming for playful and trying not to think about what it means that he just actually got rejected for sex.
“I’d really like five minutes today where I’m not in charge of everything,” Jensen explains.
“Alright, but come on, sex? It’s kind of hard to fuck that one up.”
“I’m just not in the mood, okay? Can we just go to sleep?”
“Oh, I get it. You’re on your period, sweetie. I’m sorry, should I get you some Advil?”
Jared does. Jensen laughs and shakes his head. “I said I didn’t want to be in control.”
“Right! So by doing what you say, I’m being rebellious.”
“Very crafty, Jared,” Jensen says indulgently. “Go to bed.”
Jared rolls back to his side of the mattress and on a whim drags Jensen with him, grabbing him up and pulling him close in a way that makes it clear Jensen isn’t going to get away without a fight. Sensing the futility of struggling, Jensen fixes his head over Jared’s heart and yawns.
“Hey, umm, Jensen?” Jared says a few minutes later when he still can’t fall asleep. He knows it’s stupid to do this when Jensen has legitimate things to be upset about and doesn’t need Jared adding to it, but Jared isn’t going to fall asleep unless he says something.
“You don’t think I’m a bad actor, right?” It’s a stupid question to ask, because Jensen wouldn’t answer honestly if he did. Still, Jared can’t help himself. It’s not like he hasn’t always known Jensen is more talented than he is, but he hadn’t realized until today just how aware Jensen was of it.
Jensen sits up then, suddenly wide awake, and looks at Jared, confused with a decent helping of pissed. “What?”
“It’s just, I don’t know…I felt like you didn’t have anything nice to say all day.”
“What the fuck? It’s not like we don’t criticize each other all the time, man, that doesn’t mean I think you’re a bad actor.”
“Right, no, you’re right. I know we do. But it’s different. I’ve been trying really hard with this episode, Jen. I mean, harder than ever. I wanted to impress you, or make you look good, or something, and there was always something wrong.”
“I just want you to give the best performance possible. It’s my job to tell you what you’re doing wrong this week.”
“But there was a ‘good job’ for Jim and Misha and stunt demon #7 and for the lighting crew, everyone basically—you didn’t ever even hint that I was doing okay.”
There’s a long pause until finally Jared says, “Never mind. Forget I asked.”
“I thought you knew how I feel about you. Everything about you, Jared.” Jensen looks at Jared so earnestly that a part of his brain gets knocked out of place and whatever pieces (however tiny and insignificant) of his heart there might have been that didn’t already belong to Jensen melt.
“Jensen, I…” Jared stops himself a second before making the mistake of saying what he’s thinking. It’s not like it’s something Jensen doesn’t know, but they don’t talk about this, none of it, not ever. It’s too big to put into words, too dangerous to risk screwing up, and it’s always been enough that it exists. However much Jared might want to say it, those three words go way too far into “talking about it” territory to be permitted. “I should go to sleep. I’m working for this asshole director and he’s gonna kill me if I show up tired tomorrow morning.”
Jensen’s expression shifts, Jared can’t decide if he should read it as relieved or disappointed. He nods and leans in to give Jared a quick kiss, settling back into the nook between Jared’s arm and once again using Jared’s chest as a pillow.
He says nothing for a long time and Jared thinks maybe he fell asleep. But then there’s a whisper so soft, Jared feels it more than hears it.
“I love you, too, Jay.”