Genre: Jared/Jensen High School AU
Word Count: 3,000
Notes: An insmallpackages gift, written for the prompt: J2, High School AU, first touches and kisses. A million thank you's to flawlessglitch for the lightning fast and superb beta. Here's to knit hats and goddamn anglerfish, lily.
Jib the topsails, ladies and gentlemen. We're setting course for a sea of schmoop.
Summary: Sure, Jared likes Jensen, likes him a lot, but it’s always been in the same way that he would like to win a million bucks: it's a nice enough daydream but not something that might actually ever happen.
Jared bows his head over his notebook, his teacher’s voice reduced to pesky background noise. He’s doodling in the margins, drawing a series of anglerfish, an entire school of them, fangs, antennae, huge cartoony eyes, the whole nine. As he puts the finishing touches on one tiny fin, Jensen grabs his arm and pulls it into the space between their desks, making Jared’s pencil scratch along the paper.
Three years in the same school, three months sitting next to each other in pre-Calc, and this is the first time that Jensen has ever really acknowledged Jared at all. Maybe there have been a few absent nods and distracted hello’s, but those don’t really count. Jensen isn’t looking at him now either, not really. Instead he’s got the cap of a blue permanent marker bitten between his teeth and he’s drawing on the side of Jared’s wrist, three small stars in the shape of a triangle.
Jared tries to swallow past the sudden dryness in his throat. Something hooks into his stomach and doesn’t let go. His heart starts to pound and he feels a little light-headed. He thinks, dimly, that his body is acting like it’s preparing for some near-death experience, which, okay, it just might be, because Jensen is touching him. Touching him on purpose. Jensen’s fingers are warm where they’re wrapped around Jared’s wrist, and Jensen’s thumb moves in a small figure eight along the underside of it, right below Jared’s palm, as if he can feel the way Jared’s pulse speeds up.
Jensen finishes, lifts Jared’s arm and blows on the ink for a second to dry it and then smiles at him before letting go. Jared smiles back, more than a little dumfounded. Sure, Jared likes him, likes him a lot, but it’s always been in the same way that he would like to win a million bucks: it's a nice enough daydream but not something that might actually ever happen.
“Um, thanks?” Jared whispers.
Jensen’s smile broadens into a thousand-watt grin. “Anytime,” he says.
There’s this soda shop in Jared’s neighborhood. A real retro place, chrome everywhere, spinning barstools topped in red leather and Buddy Holly playing on the honest-to-god jukebox in the back. It’s got a sign in the window that boasts the best milkshakes on the planet and Jared doesn’t think they’re wrong.
He holds the door open for Misha, pondering the relative merits of banana splits and chocolate malts.
“Hey,” Misha says, walking past him and pointing to his wrist. “What’s that?”
“Nothing,” Jared tells him. He pulls his sleeve down over his hand. “I was bored,” he mumbles.
“But you’re right handed,” Misha points out.
“Thanks for reminding me,” Jared replies, not exactly sure why he’s being so evasive. Jensen touched him, left a mark, and there’s some small part of Jared that wants to hold onto that, to keep it his.
The room is packed near to capacity, some friend of a friend’s living room on a Saturday night. Jared sits on the sofa, trying to hear Aldis over the thump of music and the sounds as other folks from his class mill around, drinking god knows what out of red plastic cups.
Aldis is trying to teach him a card game that involves elves and goblins and a series of ten-sided dice, which will probably establish Jared’s nerd credibility for life, when the front door opens up with a blast of cool air and Jensen walks in. Jared bounces a little when Jensen plops down on the couch beside him in a barely controlled fall.
This close, Jared can feel the warmth radiating off of Jensen, smell the clean scent of his skin, likes the easy way Jensen is pressed along his side, the way his elbow notches in right below Jared’s ribs.
“Hey,” Jensen says, mostly drowned out by the racket of the party going on around them.
“Hey,” Jared parrots back. Across from him, Aldis looks at each of them over the fan of cards in his hand, his mouth set in a surprised frown, but remains blessedly silent.
Jensen reaches out and plucks at Jared’s sleeve. “Your stars are gone,” he says.
“I had to wash my hands eventually,” Jared says, then mentally kicks himself. If this is flirting, he’s sure he’s not doing it right.
Jensen pats down his pockets, purses his lips and rises, hand pressed for a second on Jared’s knee as he levers himself up and disappears into the kitchen.
“Are we gonna play, or are you gonna spend all night making goo-goo eyes at your boy there?” Aldis asks mildly.
“He’s not my--,” Jared starts then winces. “Is it that obvious?”
“On a scale of one to ten, I’d say it’s pretty frickin’ obvious.” Aldis shrugs. “I don’t think he minds, though.” His gaze wanders to a point behind Jared’s shoulder and he says, “Watch out.”
Jensen comes back, a bag of Doritos in one hand and a marker in the other, leans in close enough that the short spikes of his hair brush against Jared’s cheek.
“They only had black,” Jensen says. “I like blue better, but at least it’s not red.”
Before Jared can ask why he doesn’t like red, he’s caught off guard by Jensen’s hands on him, the way he walks his fingers up the inside of Jared’s arm as he pushes his sleeve up higher. Jensen begins to draw on the soft skin right below the crook of his elbow. Only two stars, but they’re bigger than the last. Like the last time, Jensen blows on them for a second before rolling his sleeve back down and patting the spot. He flashes that smile, but it gets cut off when a couple of Jensen’s friends show up at the door and holler his name and start talking to about some movie they’ve just seen, complete with dramatic and ridiculous reenactments of the fight scenes.
Jared turns his attention back to the card game, but he’s keenly aware of Jensen by his side, how their shoulders keep bumping and the brush of Jensen’s leg against his own, and the deep sound of his laughter every time one of his friends makes a joke.
About the time that Jared is resigning himself to losing the game to Aldis, Jensen turns fully to him.
“You want some?” Jensen asks, tipping the bag of chips in Jared’s direction. His fingers are coated in bright orange dust, the kind of color that should be used for nuclear warnings, and it’s downright pornographic, the way he sucks one finger into his mouth at a time and licks them clean.
“No thanks,” Jared says. “Anything that color can’t be good for you. It’s not natural.”
Jensen hums, takes a second to eye the spread of cards on the table and the ones Jared has in his hand, then points to one with his little finger. “Play that one. Trust me.”
He does. Aldis studies it and makes an aggrieved sound, toppling sideways onto the floor.
“You cheated,” Aldis accuses.
Jared snorts. “I don’t care.”
Monday morning, Jared drags himself into pre-Calc, surprised to see an orange sitting in the center of his desk. He shoehorns himself into the chair, holds it up to his nose and inhales the bright citrus smell, then cuts his eyes toward Jensen, who’s bent over his notebook and furiously finishing his homework.
Without looking over, Jensen says, "All natural. Certified organic."
"Okay," Jared concedes. "You win."
Jensen remains silent, but Jared can see the hint of a smile in Jensen's profile and he’s sure that it matches the look on his own face. Jensen is thinking about him. It’s a small thing, the tiniest goddamn thing, but Jared finds himself hanging all of his hopes on it anyway. Jensen’s thinking about him when he isn’t there.
Jared opens his locker door and steps back as a piece of paper flutters to the ground. It’s a coupon for a free milkshake from the soda shop. There’s nothing written on it, no indication who it’s from, and Jared glances up and down the hallway. It’s the last day before winter break, and there’s a certain kind of charge in the air. Everyone’s talking a little louder, walking a little faster, laughing a little more, but no one is paying attention to him.
Never one to refuse mana from the heavens, Jared tucks it in his back pocket and changes course on his walk home. Aldis has demanded a rematch of their game from the other night, so Jared shuffles up to the counter and orders a strawberry milkshake in a to-go cup, spins on his heel to find Jensen tucked into a booth in the corner. Some guy is blocking him in, standing with his knee propped on the seat, but Jensen still leans past him to look up at the counter, a distinct deer-in-the-headlights expression on his face. Jared waves at him on the way out the door, doesn’t want to interrupt, but he swears he can see Jensen’s shoulders drop a little.
Jared’s sitting at the kitchen table behind a half-eaten bowl of cereal and sleepily staring into the middle distance when there’s a knock on his front door.
He opens it to find Jensen, wrapped to his ears in a scarf and a knit hat jammed onto his headJared manages a squeaky, “Hello?” and doesn’t even have time to get over the idea that Jensen knows where he lives, much less the fact that he hasn’t brushed his hair in two days and he’s still in his pajamas before Jensen starts to talk.
"Here’s the thing. I've been systematically trying to flirt with you for the last few weeks and I’m starting to think that I’m doing it wrong." The words are coming out in a rush, and Jensen’s fiddling with his hands, shifting his weight from one foot to the other like he’s nervous, but that can’t be right. Jared has always thought that Jensen’s the kind of person who eats confidence for breakfast. “So I’d love it if you’d tell me how to do it right. Or if I have been doing it right, then tell me that you just don’t like me, at which point I’ll stop altogether, which I hope is not the case, because I think you’re kinda awesome and funny and hot and I like you. A lot.” Jensen takes a deep breath, blows it out in a rush and seems to deflate.
Jared blinks, tries to push his hair out of his face but his fingers gets tangled in a knot. He might still be asleep. His feet probably wouldn’t be this cold if he was still asleep. “Wait a minute,” Jared says.
“Take all the time you need.”
“I always thought that my nose was a little big for my face,” Jared says, and really, it makes more sense in his head than it does out loud.
“It looks like you’ve grown into it while you weren’t paying attention,” Jensen tells him.
“I’m still in my pajamas,” Jared says it like an apology. He’s still trying to catch up, and holy shit, Jensen’s standing on his doorstep and looking up at him like that, all bright and hopeful.
“I think you look perfect.”
And that’s about when it sinks in. Jared wants to sit down, or hug Jensen. He wants to hire a skywriter, wishes more than anything that life came with an instant replay button because Jensen likes him and Jared’s sure that he could listen to Jensen say it on repeat for the rest of his life and never, ever get bored.
Jared stutters. “Ah, how do we…um…how do…what happens now?”
“Go out with me. On New Year’s Eve? We can go down to the water, watch the fireworks.”
They’re on the riverwalk, weaving through a milling crowd of people all jockeying for a good view of the water. Jensen’s in the lead and Jared has a hand tangled in the collar of his coat so that he won’t lose him.
Jensen turns back, says, “Here, here,” as he points, but Jared can’t hear him over the noise and has to read his lips. It’s a good excuse to stare at Jensen’s mouth for a second, anyway.
A small space opens up ahead, barely big enough for the two of them to fit and they stop there, huddled so close that their shoes knock together.
The clock strikes midnight and everyone begins to cheer. A band starts up behind them and across the water fireworks explode in a shower of sparks, huge blooms of light filling the sky, with thuds that Jared feels in the pit of his stomach. Jensen turns to Jared and grins at him, the tip of his tongue trapped between his teeth and his face lit up in shifting colors, blue then red then gold.
He rises up onto the balls of his feet and Jared thinks this is it, he’s about to have his very first kiss and he lets his eyes slip closed, breath catching in his throat. Instead, Jensen’s cold lips brush against his ear as he says, “Not here. I want to. I really want to, but not yet.”
Jared’s sharp pang of disappointment disappears as Jensen turns and presses his back to Jared’s chest, then takes Jared’s hands in his. He tips his head backward against Jared and tangles their fingers together, shoving them into his pockets. Jared hooks his chin over Jensen’s shoulder, Jensen’s cold ear pressed to his cheek. A kiss might have been nice, but a small part of Jared thinks that this is just as good.
A song is playing on the radio, something slow and folksy, and Jensen’s driving, softly humming along. His wrist is hooked over the wheel, his legs are set in an easy sprawl, he keeps cutting these small looks over to Jared and Jared keeps chewing on his lips, trying not to smile.
It’s dark, they’ve been driving for an hour and the distant city lights have finally begun to bleed from the sky. Backcountry spreads out before them, winter-brown fields barely visible past the reach of the headlights.
Jensen slows down, steers the car onto to shoulder and then drifts into the field, loose gravel pinging against the undercarriage of the car. He rolls to a stop and cuts the lights, sinking them into darkness.
“We’re here,” Jensen says, spilling from the car.
Jared follows, squinting into the pitch black. It’s two nights past a new moon, just a sliver high in the sky, and it takes a minute or so for Jared to adjust.
Jensen slides onto the hood of his car and hooks his heels on the bumper. Jared joins him, gets a thrill when Jensen crowds in close to his side and lays his hand high on Jared’s thigh, fingernails scratching along the inside seam on his jeans. Jared’s a city boy, and he’s never seen so many stars. There are some shapes he recognizes, the major ones: the Big Dipper and the little one, Orion, the Dog Star. But there are all the stars in between, pinpricks of light that he’s never been able to see before.
Jared thinks that he ought to say something profound, something about the limitless nature of the universe, but all he can manage is a soft, “Wow.”
Beside him, Jensen nods, then says in a hoarse whisper, “A year. It took me a year to get up enough nerve to draw those stars on you that first time.”
“Why did you wait so long?” Jared asks, and snugs in closer to Jensen’s side.
“Because I wanted to do it right. Because it’s important. And ever since then, I’ve been trying to figure out the right way to kiss you.”
“Because that’s important, too.”
“Yeah. I didn’t wanna do it the other day.” Jensen makes a vague motion. “Y’know, with everybody there and all the noise. I mean—“
Jensen cuts off when Jared touches his face, jumps a little and goes rigid. He pulls Jensen toward him and says, “It’s okay.”
He tilts in closer and rubs their cold noses together. Jensen’s breath falls on Jared’s mouth, a warm, moist rush of air that accompanies Jensen’s sigh. Jared brushes his lips along Jensen’s, and they’re dry, a little chapped from the winter air, they snag together and Jared’s never felt anything quite like it, this rush of adrenaline and the heat that builds way down low in his stomach.
“I get it,” Jared says lips moving Jensen’s mouth, and Jensen relaxes, just sort of melts against him, fitting their lips together again. A light touch of Jensen’s tongue and Jared opens up for him, lets Jensen inside with tentative little flicks of his tongue that Jared returns in kind, tasting the peppermint coffee that Jensen had on the way there, licking into his mouth until that disappears and only the singular taste of Jensen remains.
Jared breaks off, and he can feel Jensen’s smile against his own. “Was that the right way?” he asks.
On a huff of laughter, Jensen says, “Yeah. Pretty sure it was.”
“You wanna try again, just to be sure?”
Jensen digs his hand into Jared’s hair and tugs him in again. “Definitely.”
Thanks for reading.