Genre: Jared/Jensen Historical AU
Word Count: 3600
Notes: Written for smpc, and very much inspired by my recent reading of Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus. Warnings for wing!kink, barebacking, mild comeplay.
Summary: The circus comes to town and brings a surprise or two with it.
The air inside the big top is dusty, smells like straw. The family types have gone home to tuck their children in for the night, and Jared’s shoehorned between two men, their shirtsleeves rolled up and dirt under their fingernails. The strings of naked light bulbs pulsate, bright to dim in a rhythm steady as a heartbeat.
Jared turns to a clean page in his notebook, touches the tip of his pencil to his tongue in a well-worn habit and scribbles down a few short lines describing the crowd. They’re loud and getting louder, too many nips from flasks hidden inside of their coats, but that tiny detail won’t make it into the paper. This is a small town and the circus showing up overnight in the Peter’s back field is big news, might even make the front page, beneath the fold, of course. Jared’s glad for the change, a switch from the weekly crop reports and monotonous coverage of the proceedings that come out of the county courthouse.
This is the freak show’s main attraction, the ticket that folks paid extra for. Jared had passed by the sign for it a handful of times today, advertising in blocky letters an angel that had come down from heaven, bless us all, god bless us all.
The lights dim and stay that way this time, and the crowd dims with it, quiet enough that Jared can hear the scratchy music from an old record player, a eerie warbling sound that reminds Jared of birdsong.
A form descends from the shadowy peak of the tent, stops about thirty feet from the ground. The tension ratchets up in the audience, people staring toward the figure and leaning forward in their seats. Jared’s right with them, squinting to see into the shadows, gasping with everyone in unison when twin spotlights switch on.
He hadn’t been sure what to expect, figured that he’d forked over a dollar to see some young boy or girl with wings strapped to their back. He’d been wildly wrong.
A man sits on a trapeze, suspended high above the floor and swinging slightly. His chest is bare, well-defined muscles and skin shiny and oiled. Jared can see that he’s gorgeous underneath all the stage make up, full lips set in a purposeful pout and high cheekbones. He’s barefooted, ankles crossed, and he’s wearing pants made of some silvery material that cling tightly to his thighs. There’s something magnetic about him. Jared can’t look away. His throat tightens and his breathing speeds up, and he hopes that no one can see the flush that is creeping onto his cheeks.
In a sudden burst of movement, the man leans backward and allows himself to fall, arms spread wide like he’s reaching for the ground. The crowd gasps again and someone sitting behind Jared shouts, another person screams, then screams once more when the man makes an odd movement of his shoulders and a set of wings snaps wide, at least twelve feet across and brilliantly white. He floats to the ground like he’s sinking into water, slowly spinning before landing gently on his toes.
And that’s just the beginning.
Before Jared leaves, he buys a ticket for tomorrow night’s show. And another for the night after that.
“You’re the man from the paper,” the guy says, looking Jared up and down and not bothering to be coy about it.
Jared taps at the press badge on the lapel of his jacket and introduces himself. He’d paid a hefty bribe to the circus manager to get an hour interview with the guy, and doesn’t want to waste any of it. “And you’re the angel,” he replies.
“Jensen will be fine, and trust me, I ain’t no angel,” he says with a smirk and opens the door to his trailer further, waving Jared inside and waving the manager away. “Don’t wait up,” Jensen calls after him in a sing-song voice.
The inside of the trailer looks like something out of a gypsy caravan, all vibrant clashing colors, a bed piled high with silk pillows, a dressing table with a mirror that’s all but hidden behind layers and layers of scarves. Sweet smelling oil burns in a lamp on the table and sends out a warm glow.
Neither of them are small, but up close Jensen is a commanding figure, topping out at six feet and some change and wide across the shoulders. He’s wearing a loose-fitting, thin robe with wide sleeves that flutters around his legs, and his face is still covered with make up. He settles into the stool in front of the mirror and Jared tries not to stare at the strange, rustling movement of his wings beneath the robe.
Given no other option, Jared sinks onto the bed, takes his notebook from his jacket and licks the end of his pencil.
“I’ll save you the trouble of asking,” Jensen says as he opens a jar of cream and begins rubbing it onto his face. “Yes, they’re real, and no, my mother wasn’t a bird, and I didn’t hatch out of an egg.”
His voice is deep and soft, sexy as sin, and Jared starts to think that this might not have been such a good idea. The attraction has been there from the instant he saw Jensen, and the shine is very far from wearing off. He’s spent his whole life surrounded by men he can look at and never, ever touch, but this is pushing it. This is some sort of divine torture.
Jared’s has always had a sort of obsessive fascination with the unusual and extreme, the people who live on the fringe of society, has always considered himself one of them, a freak who manages to hide in plain sight. Hopeless and helpless, Jared tears his eyes away from Jensen and stares down at his paper, skimming the list of carefully considered questions he’d drawn up, then summarily ignores them. “Where did you come from?”
Jensen’s scrubbing the lipstick from his mouth. He pauses and looks at Jared in the mirror. “Texas,” he says. “C’mon, sweetheart, you can come up with something more interesting than that.”
“Texas?” Jared says lamely, and fuck, he really wants to touch Jensen’s lips, see if they’re as soft as they look.
Jensen spins on his stool. His face is washed clean now, only faint smudges of eyeliner here and there, and his skin is ruddy, freckles scattered across his nose and cheeks, so very human.
“How…” Jared trails off, but Jensen gets it.
“I was born this way. They grew as I grew.”
“What about your family, are they like you?”
With a shake of his head, Jensen says, “My mother is one of those evangelical types, thought she’d given birth to an angel. Once they got too big to hide--well. Let’s just say that most of the folks in town didn’t share her opinion.”
“Did you always want to be in the circus?”
“Not a lot of options,” Jensen tells him. “Did you always wanna write for the papers?”
Jared shakes his head. “I wanted to be a novelist. Fiction. Not a lot of options.”
Jensen chuckles and the rustling starts again, shivery movement at his back.
“How high can you go?” Jared asks.
“Now you’re asking the right questions,” Jensen says with a brief squeeze to Jared’s knee. “I don’t actually fly.”
“Didn’t look that way to me,” Jared counters.
“It’s more of a controlled fall, or a very high jump. They help me get one over on gravity.” Jensen stretches, works the kinks out of his neck. More rustling.
“Can I—can I see?” He’s given up, his pencil and paper ignored at his hip and his curiosity completely in control.
“Of course,” Jensen says. He stands, and without a lick of shyness, drops his robe from his shoulders, naked except for his shorts, and turns his back to Jared. His wings are folded against his back, bright white, delicate and powerful all at once. Jared realizes he should have studied up, doesn’t know the primary or secondary feathers from a pin feather, only knows that Jensen is the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen.
His fingers itch to touch them, trace the stretched skin just beside Jensen’s shoulder blades, run down the long feathers at the tips.
“It’s alright,” Jensen says. “I don’t mind.” He extends them slightly, takes a backward step closer to Jared and shivers when Jared reaches out and lightly brushes along a fan of feathers near Jensen’s shoulder.
Jared’s fingers come back white and chalky, and he hums, questioning.
“Oh, that,” Jensen says, and flutters his wings in a cloud of powder. Once it has settled, Jared can see faint brown speckles covering Jensen’s wings, the true cream color of his feathers that he keeps hidden.
“They show up better that way for the lights, and I’ve never liked my freckles.” Affecting a mildly feminine tone, he goes on, “Besides, a girl has to have a few secrets, right?”
“What’s it feel like?”
A blush has spread across Jensen’s cheeks, down his neck. “Here.” He takes Jared’s hand and works his fingertip between Jared’s fingers with soft touches, does the same thing to the thin skin on the inside of his wrist, pushes Jared’s sleeve up so he can get to his forearm.
“Why did you come here?” Jensen asks, his gaze serious and probing.
“No. No. Why did you come here?” he repeats, low and heated. He moves another step closer and now their toes are touching. Jared’s hard and Jensen knows it, drops his eyes to the bulge in Jared’s pants and licks his lips. Jensen unhooks the top two buttons on Jared’s shirt and Jared lets him, takes over where Jensen left off and drops it to the floor. Everything has taken on a surreal bend, as if he’s suddenly found himself inside of someone else’s dream.
“You fascinate me,” Jared says truthfully. “And I’ve always believed that I’m a freak, and that maybe—“
“Sweetheart, we’re all freaks here.” Jensen unfurls his wings and wraps them around Jared to prove his point, lets them fall across Jared’s shoulders with light caresses that defy proper description. Jared’s vocabulary can’t even come close.
Jensen pushes up onto his tiptoes as Jared leans down and there’s a second before they kiss, this fleeting moment when Jared can feel the warmth of Jensen’s breath on his lips, the heat of Jensen’s skin against his chest. This moment where there’s nothing but bone-deep want and all-consuming need, and the world of the normal, of the mundane seems far, far away, like that’s the stuff of fairy tales. Not this.
They meet in the middle and Jensen licks inside right away, moaning like he’s been waiting years for this, like he’s been waiting forever. It’s slick and hot, sloppy and too much spit, and Jared’s never been kissed like this before. He’s always been hidden away, furtive, afraid of getting caught.
Jensen’s confident, borderline cocky, knows exactly what he wants and knows exactly how to get it. He pushes Jared to his knees and Jared’s only too happy to go, digging his nails along Jensen’s torso and following it up with his tongue and his teeth, sucking bruises into the tight skin covering Jensen’s ribs, his abs, opening his mouth along the thick ridge of Jensen’s cock through his shorts, opening his mouth even further when Jensen pulls his cock out and rubs it against Jared’s lips.
The taste is strong, the earthy smell of Jensen everywhere as Jared takes his cock in and swirls his tongue around the smooth head. Jensen towers over him, feathers flitting on Jared’s back, thighs trembling under Jared’s palms. Jensen pushes a finger past the tight seal of Jared’s lips and Jared sucks on that too, pulls off when Jensen taps him twice on the cheek then staggers backward toward his dressing table.
“Goddamn, kid,” Jensen says, breathless.
His cock hangs heavily between his legs, swollen and shiny from Jared’s spit and Jared wants it back in his mouth, wants the weight of it on his tongue. He goes on all fours. He’ll crawl. He’ll beg for whatever Jensen wants to give him. Dimly, he realizes that no one has ever had this sort of effect on him, wonders if his unusual anatomy is the only trick Jensen has up his sleeve.
Jensen takes a small vial from his collection and pours it onto his fingers, covering them with an oily sheen, leans against the table and props one foot on the stool. His wings shake, contract and relax like Jensen has no control of them as he taps a finger against his rim, teases it and gets it wet before he pushes his fingertip inside, putting on a show for an audience of one.
“Do something about your pants.” Jensen’s voice shakes, but he makes a happy, approving sound as Jared shuffles out of them and crawls closer.
Jensen’s laugh is shaky, too. “Fuck, you ask too many questions. C’mere.” He draws Jared up, takes him by the wrist and guides his hand, his breath punching out as Jared slips a finger between Jensen’s.
“Gotta tell you,” Jensen says between gasps, “you are completely wasted on this middle-of-nowhere town.” He jabs his hips and forces Jared’s finger in deeper. It’s hot and intimate and Jared could come from this alone, from the look of bliss on Jensen’s face and the way he bears down on Jared’s hand, from the taste of him and the whispery brush of his feathers on Jared’s skin.
“Wanna suck you,” Jared says, nuzzling at Jensen’s throat.
"Two more seconds of that and I’ll blow. I wanna save it. Come on your cock.”
“Yeah,” Jared mumbles, a fresh stream of precome leaking from his cock. He lifts Jensen up, palms Jensen’s ass as Jensen wraps his legs around Jared’s hips and his arms around Jared’s neck. “Light.”
“Hollow bones,” Jensen provides, “but don’t worry. I don't break easy.” He tips forward, overbalances them and forces Jared onto his bed, braces himself with his knees on either side of Jared’s hips.
Jared flattens his palm on Jensen’s chest, feels his rapid-fire heartbeat. “You run hot.”
“A hundred and two is my norm, resting heart rate is forty beats a minute. It’s a lot faster right now. Do you really want an anatomy lesson?”
“Fuck, no. Not at all.”
“Good,” Jensen says and shifts, takes Jared’s cock at the base and sinks down.
It’s slow, agonizing, and Jared has to bite down on his lip to stop from bucking up. His toes are curling and his hands are in fists and he’s entirely entranced by Jensen, how Jensen parts his lips and throws his head back, the long graceful arch of his neck, the tightness of his body once he bottoms out, cradled against Jared’s thighs.
Jared’s pulse bangs loudly in his ears, pumps clear through from his toes to the tips of his fingers. He can’t catch a deep breath, isn’t too sure that he needs one as Jensen rears up and slams down quick, his cock slapping against Jared’s stomach and leaving wet little tracks. The next time Jared steers him down with his hands on Jensen’s hips and thrusts up to meet him.
It’s so good, tight and perfect every time Jensen grinds against him, a miracle in each tiny circle of his hips as he grows more and more frantic, clenching around the width of Jared’s cock, collapsing onto Jared’s chest and kissing him stupid, kissing him until Jared has no breath to spare and white spots begin crowding the edges of his vision. Jared wants this forever, doesn’t want to lose the sensation of Jensen all around him, inside and out.
Another huge thrust and Jensen shudders massively, spills sticky between them, wings unfolding fully for the first time and cooling the sweat on Jared’s skin. Something clatters to the floor but Jensen doesn’t stop, keeps riding Jared, pulling Jared’s orgasm out of him with every drag of his rim on Jared’s cock. He smears his fingers through the spunk on Jared’s stomach and pries them between Jared’s lips, fucks his fingers in and out of Jared’s mouth as he feeds him come. It tips Jared over, makes him jab his hips up and shoot hard, clawing at Jensen’s thighs, his back, anywhere he can reach.
Jensen blankets his chest, settles his wings around them in a cocoon, kisses him and says, “So how about that anatomy lesson.”
Jared wakes up to a knock at the trailer door and a gruff, unfamiliar voice.
“We’re making dust. Better get outta here, unless you plan on hitching a ride.”
Jensen’s gone, leaving Jared with a strange, hollowed-out feeling in his chest. He picks up Jensen’s robe from the floor and buries his nose in it, smells powder and the scent of Jensen’s skin. He indulges for a moment, rubs it against his cheek, lets the soft silk slip between his fingers and catch on his day-old stubble, then dresses quickly, runs his hands through his hair and stumbles out into the morning.
The circus had been taken down overnight, the tents collapsed and the ferris wheel disassembled efficiently, only flattened grass and patches of churned up dirt to show that it was ever there. A rag-tag collection of trucks and cars and trailers are lined up like a caravan, snaking toward the road. Jared weaves between them, earning suspicious looks and the occasional nod and finally finds Jensen near the end, sitting on the back of a flatbed pick-up, nestled between crates and rolled-canvas. His legs dangle over the side and he's gripping a speckled tin mug of coffee in both hands, elbows on his knees.
“Morning, beautiful,” Jensen says to Jared, then tips an invisible hat to the bearded lady as she passes beside the truck.
“Nice catch,” she says with obvious disdain as she gives Jared the once over and moves on.
“I thought so too,” Jensen calls after her, but the smile he gives Jared is genuine, soft and affectionate. “We don’t keep many secrets around here.”
“I don’t think she approves,” Jared points out.
“It’s not that. You’re a stranger,” Jensen explains. “Who I prefer to bring into my bed doesn’t matter to any one of these folks. Remember? We’re all freaks here.”
Jared lets that sink in. He’s kept that part of himself hidden for so long that it’s become second nature to him. He’s got no idea what it might be like to live out in the open. He wouldn’t even know where to start.
“Where to now?” Jared asks, coughing to clear the sudden knot in his throat.
Jensen looks down at him, one eye closed and the other squinting. He’s shirtless, wings tucked tight against his back and bare feet sticking out below the dusty cuffs of his pants. The morning sun is bright and hot, and his shoulders are already starting to go pink, burn and freckle.
“Won’t know until I get there,” Jensen informs him with a shrug.
“Every town is the same to you, huh?”
His answer is quiet. “Most of them, maybe, but not every town.” Jensen shifts some and winces, leans back and props himself on his arms, and now Jared can see the shape of his own teeth bruised into the skin along Jensen’s ribs, the faint scratches his nails left behind. Jensen’s going to be feeling him all day, every bump in the road a reminder, and maybe tonight he’ll press his fingers to the bruise, and maybe think of him. Jared’s skin flares hot at the thought.
“You could stick around,” Jensen suggests as the line of trucks and trailers lurches into motion. It’s purposefully off-handed. He pitches his voice louder to be heard over the rumble of a dozen and a half motors. “Hit the circuit with us. You could be my bodyguard.”
Jared laughs, hands in his pockets and rocking on his heels. “Don’t know that I’m cut out for that sorta work.”
With a nod, Jensen says, “I suppose a man oughta stick with what he knows.” There’s a challenge there, in the flash of Jensen’s eyes and the sardonic shape of his mouth. Like everything else about him, there’s a double meaning, too. The truck starts rolling and Jensen rocks with it as it jolts over the uneven field. “I’ve always wanted a biographer, but no one would ever believe you. I would read like fiction.”
He says something else, but he’s too far away and Jared can’t make it out. Jared watches as the caravan lumbers onto the road, waves right before Jensen’s truck makes it to the tree line and moves out of sight. Jensen doesn’t wave back, but he also doesn’t look away.
As he walks toward the road, Jared takes stock. He’s got steady work here, a decent place to live over top of the local five and dime, and a bed that fits him alright. He’s got a good group of friends and a mother that keeps prodding him for grandchildren. He’s got a half-finished novel that’s so dull that no one will ever want to read it, boring enough that he can hardly stand to pull the thing out of his desk drawer to work on it.
His stride lengthens when he hits the road and sees the last of the circus trucks retreat around the curve. A few more steps and he breaks into a jog. He can’t fly. He doesn’t have wings and he can’t fly, but he does have long legs. He can run very fast.
Thanks for reading.