Genre: J2 RPS
Word Count: ~6,500
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, just me bringing my toys to play in someone else's sandbox.
Summary: Jared knew there was something off with Jensen. For one thing, filming was on hiatus, so why was he still in Vancouver?
A/N: 1. Thanks to the wonderfulshattershockredwho fulfilled the role of beta and head cheerleader very graciously.
A/N: 2. There is a reference in here to Doris Lessing, particularly her story "Sister Imelda," She is an amazing author whose writing I both love and am jealous of, Additionally there are small nods to both T.S. Elliot and Robert Frost. Trust me, it works...
Feedback: Any and all comments and constructive criticisms are welcome and more than appreciated, tell me what you liked, tell me what you did not like, and make me a better writer!
ETA: the lovely secretlytodream has posted a Russian translation of this fic, which can be found here.
It was a Wednesday afternoon when Jared began to suspect something was not quite right. He stood on his porch, looking at the back yard. Thinking idly about how the lawn was going to need mowing within a week or so, he attributed the curious feeling creeping up on him to the weather. It was the start of May already, and nature was just now beginning its springtime routine. Two months later than back home. Perhaps it was just his internal clock that was out of sync. Living mainly in Vancouver for four years had yet to knock the Texas entirely out of him. So if something did not feel quite right, well, that was probably it.
He could hear Jensen’s muffled voice through the screen door as he spoke on the phone. Jared tried not to eavesdrop, instead turning his thoughts to errands and things to fill up his next three months off. In a way, this welcomed time off threw him. He was so totally used to schedules and shoots, early mornings and late nights, that any opportunity to just relax had him on edge. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe nothing was really off. Maybe it was just him.
But he knew for a fact that it was not only him. Every morning since filming ended, and despite his full intentions to sleep until at least noon, Jared, of his own volition, awoke no later than five a.m. His body was ready to start the morning routine, even if his will power was not. And every morning, he cursed as his feet hit the ground, and shuffled stiffly into the kitchen, stretching massively and feeling genuinely disgruntled. Jensen was always up, sitting at the kitchen table, his hair sloppy and eyes red, the inevitable mug of coffee sitting at his elbow, and newspaper splayed out in front of him.
In the dim light from the stove hood they would smile sheepishly at each other, speaking the unspoken language of best friends who had spent too much time in each others’ back pockets, and just sort of shrug it off to habit.
So at least Jared wasn’t the only one who was not quite right, Jensen was off too.
Jared heard the screen door slam closed behind him, breaking him away from his thoughts, and tossing him back into the present.
“Hey” Jensen said, by way of a greeting, squinting a little at the rare sight of Vancouver sunlight. “I’m going out for a while, you need anything?”
Well, that solved it; Jared knew that something was definitely off. Jensen rarely went anywhere without offering up specific details, not to mention he rarely went anywhere that Jared was not invited. “Nope, thanks.” Jared replied, trying his best to sound casual, when really he wanted to flood Jensen with a deluge of questions.
“Alright, see you in a few, call me if you need anything,” Jensen said, already heading back inside.
Jensen. What was he still doing here, anyway? Not that Jared minded him sticking around, far from it. In fact, the idea of spending even a week away from Jensen left a pit in Jared’s stomach that he was not ready to admit to, much less think about. But in the last month or so that they had been on set, Jensen’s favorite topic of conversation was three glorious months off and the chance to spend some extended time in L.A. He kept saying that he wanted to get reacquainted with his condo there; he wanted to remind it that it still indeed did have an owner. He was excited at the prospect of being able to spend time with friends that he really did not get to see enough nine months out of the year.
A heartbeat’s worth of hope crept up on Jared. Perhaps Jensen just did not want to leave him either. No, that would be too easy, and nothing was ever that easy. He quickly pushed the thought away, tucked it into the mental file of things he was not going to admit quite yet, even to himself, and got on with his day.
Jared spent the remainder of the afternoon straightening the house because the cleaning service was coming tomorrow. Eight months ago, he would have been aware of the irony in that statement, and remembered at one point suggesting to Jensen that they get a housekeeper to clean up for the housekeeper. But nowadays its was just a way of life for him, brought on by just another of those peculiarities of Jensen’s. Jensen insisted that they keep the place clean for the housecleaner. He also had a thing against washcloths sitting in the kitchen sink as opposed to being folded neatly on the faucet. Then there was the thing with the coasters, even though the coffee table was glass topped, and at the end of the night the remote controls had to be placed on the stand next to the television.
Jared thought that if those were the most annoying things about Jensen, well then the man really was just a small step away from perfect.
Because even though Jensen always had to have the dishtowels folded in a certain manner, each time he went to the refrigerator, he always grabbed an extra beer for Jared, and never had to be asked nor thanked. Jensen was perfect because he made the most wonderful breakfast every Sunday morning, enough food to feed an army, even if it was just the two of them, because that is what you did in an Ackles household, even if just one Ackles lived there. At two o’clock in the morning on set, the hour where the only choices were to get pissed or get giddy, Jensen would make sure to go to every person and thank them for all their work, and give a pat on the back or a hug to everyone. Really, the man was just too good to be legal.
But it went far beyond the kindness that Jensen showed co-workers, assistants, and even housekeepers. There was that way that Jensen smiled at Jared sometimes, and it was a special and secret smile. It was a smile that Jensen reserved for him alone. It said to Jared that despite the fact that they were in a room full of people, Jensen believed that only person worth listening to was the one sitting on the receiving end of that smile.
Thinking about that smile, Jared placed the remote control on the stand by the television, and finally admitted to himself that he was pretty far-gone. The admission was not earth shattering, the world did not stop turning, and the sun did not go out. That nagging thought in the back of his mind just came to the front. It was simply an undeniable truth.
Jared hadn’t fallen in love. Falling meant that you had no idea where you were going to land; it meant fear and reluctance, and it meant unwillingness and blindness. No, Jared had definitely not fallen in love; he had jumped in feet first.
Hours later, well into evening, Jared was just starting to worry when he heard Jensen’s key rattling in the front door.
“Hey Jared, you got a second?” Jensen’s overly casual tone immediately set Jared on edge. Jared peered at him closely. For some reason, he thought that Jensen was going to look different to him now, but all he could see was a tightness to Jensen’s shoulders that was unusual. Jensen toyed nervously with his ring as he settled down in the large chair in the living room.
“Yeah,” Jared replied, suddenly feeling unsure as he sat heavily on the couch opposite Jensen.
Not meeting Jared’s eyes, and taking a deep breath, Jensen said, “So I found this place right outside of the city, it’s a condo. Gated community, so the studio will be happy with the security. It’s got two bedrooms two bathrooms, it seems pretty awesome, and they are offering a month-to-month lease on it, so I won’t get stuck with it after we are done filming the last season. It’s available right now, and I thought you might want to come and take a look at it with me. I just wanted to check it out one more time before I signed the paperwork and put down the deposit. So are you busy tomorrow?” Jensen’s words came out in a rush, and he finally looked up to gauge Jared’s reaction.
Jared could spot sloppy acting a mile away, especially when it was Jensen’s, and this was a glowing example of just that. Immediately he recognized the signs of a speech that was rehearsed so many times that all it became was a huge pile of words, an obstacle to climb over to get to the next thing.
What was worse, the high wave that he’d been riding since this afternoon suddenly came crashing down on top of him.
“Did I do something wrong?” Jared asked, unwilling to meet Jensen’s eyes.
“Jared,” Jensen replied, resignation bleeding into his voice, “you did nothing wrong. I always thought of this as a temporary situation. It just dragged out longer than either of us expected, you know? I don’t want to be in your way anymore, and with the time off that we both have, I thought that I could at last have the chance to find something different. Get out of your hair—“
“You have never been in my way, not once, you never could be.” Jared interrupted quietly, hardly more than a whisper. His first instinct was to beg Jensen not to leave. How could he manage to fill this house by himself? He couldn’t, he didn’t know how, and more so, he really didn’t want to learn. At the same time, he hated how co-dependant he was feeling at this very instant.
It all fell into place. The phone calls that Jensen had been making just out of earshot, and the fact that he was scanning the paper religiously every morning. It was obvious now why Jensen had yet to make his long awaited trek southward to L.A.
Jared felt like a fool for believing, up to a few scant minutes ago, that he was the reason Jensen was not skipping town.
“It’s not like I am moving far away, Jared, this place is only a twenty minute drive from here if you hit the lights right.” Jensen’s voice began to sound placating. “Besides, remember how it was before we lived together? How much time we used to spend at each other’s houses? Nothing is going to change. Hell, that is the last thing I want. I just think that it’s best that we have our separate places again. Before you get sick of me.”
“You don’t have to talk to me like I am a little kid, Jensen. And why did you wait for the last second to tell me this?” Jared hated the sound of his own voice. It reminded him exactly of a surly spoiled child, it was biting and more than a little bit bitter. Even worse, he couldn’t seem to stop it.
“I’m telling you right now. Besides, it’s not like I’m breaking up with you or anything.” Jensen had a sarcastic stripe a mile wide, and it lashed out in full force in the face of his frustration.
Jared recoiled, feeling like he had been on the receiving end of a sucker punch to the jaw.
“Not breaking up with me?” Jared laughed, but there was no humor in the sound. He suddenly realized that he had stood up, taken two long strides toward the man who was soon to be his former roommate. Jensen stared up at him, his features set in a calm mask, there was no sloppy acting now, this performance was spot on. “Then how come you’re acting like you are? Jesus, Jensen, how come it feels like you are.”
Heading toward the kitchen in what was almost a dead run, Jared grabbed the first bottle of liquor he could get his hands on, thought fleetingly about grabbing a glass, and figured that it wasn’t worth the effort. Wanting nothing more than to retreat to his room, he spun around, only to come within inches of Jensen, whose solid frame was blocking the doorway.
“Listen, I should have told you before what I was going to do.” Jensen’s sarcasm was gone, “I was wrong, and I admit that I went about all of this ass backwards, but I really can’t see what the big deal is.“
“Get out of my way, Jensen,” and again Jared hated the sound of his own voice. It was defeat that tinged the syllables. Before he’d ever learned how to play the game, he had lost.
Maybe, just maybe, Jensen was not so perfect after all.
Thursday morning found Jared knocking over the empty bottle of Jameson’s as his feet hit the floor promptly at 5:07 a.m. As he hunched on the corner of his bed, head falling limply into his hands, he replayed last night’s conversation. Jensen didn’t deserve the things Jared had said to him. Jared’s display of last night was exactly what Jensen was trying to stave off by moving out. Sure, he should have mentioned moving earlier, but they were both adults, even if Jared had not acted like one yesterday.
The way Jared saw it, he had two options: he could sulk and mourn the loss of something that he never really had in the first place, or he could get over it and be the close friend that Jensen needed him to be. The first option had Jared missing him already. The second allowed him a few more days of pretending that nothing had really changed, if Jensen would let him. Jared chose door number two.
He was half way down the stairs when the smell of coffee hit him. Jared almost turned around and fled back into his bedroom. But squaring his shoulders, he resolved to face Jensen, for good or ill.
As he moved into the kitchen, he saw Jensen had taken up his customary early morning post at the table, cradling a cup of coffee between both hands, staring blankly into it. Jared noticed through his hazy hangover that Jensen still wore the same shirt he’d had on yesterday. Same cut off cargo pants as well. So if Jared had passed out in a now much regretted drunken stupor, Jensen had not slept at all.
Sitting on the table across from Jensen was a second cup of coffee. Right next to it was a bottle of Tylenol. And Jared had to admit to himself, yet again, that if the feeling in his chest was not the result of pure, unadulterated adoration, well then he did not know what was.
Jared took the chair across from Jensen with a sigh. Popping open the bottle of Tylenol, he washed down four of the pills with half a cup of coffee. “Thanks for the care package,” he said.
“No problem, figured you’d need it,” Jensen replied with a slight smile, not looking up from his coffee. Jensen must have been exhausted, his Texas accent was emerging front and center.
“So, I’m a dick,” Jared stated simply.
“Naw, man, I’m a dick.”
“Well, then, we’re both dicks.” Jared shrugged.
Jensen finally looked up, and directed that astonishing smile full force toward Jared, who couldn’t help but return it in spades. “Well, I guess that’s one thing we can agree on.” Jensen’s statement had laughter curling around the edges of it.
And, just like that, everything was good again.
Jared agreed to check out Jensen’s new place with him that morning, because that is what best friends did for each other. It did not matter that internally Jared was still in shock over this turn of events. This was a duty he was expected to do, and damned if he wasn’t going to do it, in spite of his throbbing head and the sour taste in his mouth. Besides, Jared was determined to find a way to spend every second with Jensen while he was still his roommate.
Jensen’s enthusiasm over the new place was infectious. Jared ambled through the empty rooms of the new condo, keenly aware of his hangover. He shared patient and indulgent smiles with the leasing agent while Jensen listed the condo’s features, admiring the hardwood floors and the new paint job.
Jensen spoke exhaustively about quality of the light in the place, which was shooting daggers into Jared’s eyes, daggers that were aimed right at his brain. Jensen showed off the Jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom, which Jared felt like laying down in right at that moment. The balcony was great, and Jared was glad for the few minutes of fresh air, it helped with the nausea. Jensen went on about the size of the rooms, the fireplace in the living room, hell, even the washer and dryer. Jared faced all of this with a mental fortitude that he did not know he possessed.
“But this is the best part…come check it out.” Jensen said as he waved Jared into the kitchen. “This is what took me so long to find a place. All of the other places had kitchens that were so small, only this one had one that was big enough.”
To Jared, a kitchen was just a kitchen. Really a place to put the beer and the leftovers from take out, a spot to have his quick cup of morning coffee before getting on with the rest of the day. But having lived with Jensen for the past eight months, he knew that Jensen really felt like the kitchen was the center of a home. It was probably something that he’d inherited from his mother, just like the washcloth thing. However, Jared had to admit that it was pretty nice. It was big, at least.
“See, Jared, there’s room for a table right here,” Jensen was animated as he paced through the room. “And, I don’t know, this kitchen just seems usable to me, it’s laid out right.” Noticing the slightly skeptical look on Jared’s face, he added, “There is plenty of room to make us Sunday breakfast, and I’m getting this table, so that we’ll have a place to sit and have coffee in the morning when you are too tired to go home at night.”
“Our morning coffee ritual,” Jared said, smiling in spite of himself, as he vaguely remembered some line in some poem—T.S. Elliott, Jared thought—about a life being measured out in coffee spoons. He wondered how many coffee spoons they were going to go through before Jensen moved out. He knew he was acting a little nostalgic, and couldn’t bring himself to care. “That is really so important to you?” Jared teased.
Jensen grew very still, his expression turned serious. Leveling a clear stare at Jared, Jensen said slowly, “It is the best part of my day. Every single day.”
It was such a simple statement, but one that was delivered with such absolute honesty from Jensen. At that very second, Jared could have been knocked over by a feather.
It was a Friday afternoon when Jensen moved out. The two of them had spent the last week separating their belongings, packing up Jensen’s and spreading out Jared’s to fill in the gaps. Jared thought it was peculiar, how people’s stuff just sort of had a habit of intermingling while their owners were unaware. Small items belonging to Jensen sort of kept popping up everywhere, just when they thought they’d seen the last of them. Like Jensen’s socket wrench set that emerged from a drawer in the garage. It seemed like a fitting metaphor for their lives. Before Jared had realized it, Jensen had become entwined in so many different aspects of his existence.
There was an unspoken agreement between them. Jared could just not watch the actual process of Jensen’s move. The movers had come this afternoon while Jared was at the grocery store. And maybe Jared had gone for a walk around Stanley Park beforehand just to make sure that they would be undisturbed, or that he wouldn’t have to witness it. Whichever, it really didn’t matter. The sun had set two hours before Jared returned back from the store, truck laden with frozen dinners to help him start what he was beginning to think of as a newly acquired and rather unwelcomed bachelorhood.
As Jared carried his bags up the sidewalk into the house, Jensen emerged from the open front door, a box in his arms. “Hey, this is the last of it,” he said tiredly.
“Give me a second,” Jared replied. Secretly, and perhaps a little selfishly, Jared wished that Jensen had already left by the time he had gotten home. But, in situations like these, a proper send off by a best friend was required. It was par for the course. He dashed inside, threw the bags on the counter, and went back to the front stoop to get it over with, repeating to himself that Jensen was really moving only twenty minutes away.
Jensen was waiting for him on the sidewalk when Jared walked out. Jared came to a quick halt. He smiled, and hoped that it reached his eyes. Jensen took a couple steps closer to him.
The street was tinged with a surrealism that was provided by the stark yellow tinted lights from the street lamps above.
“So I guess this is it, huh?” Jensen shrugged, his lips lifting in a quirky crooked smile that was tempered with an odd and unexpected amount of sadness. Jared noticed the slight tremor in his voice.
“Yeah, guess so,” and Jared couldn’t help the shake in his voice as well. This was him saying goodbye to a way of life that he had grown to rely on over the last several months. The lump in his throat and the stinging in his eyes and the shaking of his hands were not allowing him to do the moment justice. Taking a shaky breath through a burning throat, he said “Give me a call when you get all settled in, alright? And drive safe.”
“Sure, no problem.” Jensen’s smile seemed to change into something that was a little fixed. “See ya soon, Jared.” Jensen said, clamping him on the shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze, while at the same time he took a step away and turned to his pick up. It was loaded with things bound for the new place that Jensen did not trust to the movers.
For a long moment, Jared stood stock still, not trusting himself to breathe or even say a word as he watched Jensen walk away down the sidewalk. Reaching up to touch his shoulder where Jensen’s hand had been seconds before, Jared wished the simple action could somehow brand the touch into him, and keep it safe forever. Still holding his breath, he watched as Jensen fished his keys out of his pocket, his head down, resolutely not looking back.
This was the eleventh hour, if Jared was going to do anything about this heavy feeling in his chest, in his gut, it was now or never. Jared was well aware of how pathetic this all seemed, and cursed himself for the thousandth time. Feeling as if his feet were stuck in the concrete of his sidewalk, he watched the single most important person in his entire life walk away. He knew how ridiculous this really was, and tried his best to not care about it.
“I’ll miss you,” he whispered desperately, knowing full well that he was too far away to be heard. Jared still could not take a step, and wished that Jensen would look back at him, just once, just one final wave goodbye, one small motion.
And then Jensen did.
It was just a small glance backward, not even a full turn, just a small look over his shoulder, Jensen’s chin down. Jared jumped at the profile, at the slight lifting of Jensen’s hand in a small wave, key ring hooked over his thumb. Then Jared found himself moving, taking large loping strides toward Jensen. An absurd deadline set in his mind, thinking, no, knowing that if Jensen got to his truck before Jared reached him, it would be too late.
At the sound of approaching footfalls, Jensen half turned toward Jared, just as he caught up to him a scant few feet away from the truck.
“What’s—“ Jensen began.
Grabbing Jensen’s hand, Jared tipped his balance, swinging him around so that they were facing each other. He marveled at the clear green of Jensen’s eyes, so wide in surprise, illuminated by the lights on the street corner.
It was as if time sped up and slowed down all at once.
Feeling the keys still hooked around Jensen’s thumb bite into the palm of his hand, Jared clung tightly to that contact. Before he could overanalyze the situation, he lunged forward awkwardly and placed a kiss on the corner of Jensen’s mouth.
Pulling back to stare at Jensen, Jared would have found the surprise on Jensen’s face, the perfect “O” of his mouth, the clownish wideness of his eyes hilarious, if it had not just broken his heart.
“I just couldn’t let you leave without letting you know…” Jared said, releasing Jensen’s hand.
Jared marveled at how frequently, at the most extraordinary times, a person said the most inadequate things.
Jensen closed his mouth, his teeth clicking together. Reaching out with both hands, he grabbed Jared’s wrists before Jared could turn away. “Alright,” Jensen said, his throat working, eyes locked steadily on Jared’s. “Alright…ok…it’s alright.”
Jared pulled his wrists out of Jensen’s grip, and walked quickly back to the front door. He wasn’t running away, he convinced himself. He was just cold. That would definitely explain the shaking.
Jared closed the door, locked it hastily, and turned to slide down, his back against it. There was silence on the other side of the door, and Jared found himself waiting for the sound of Jensen’s truck. He didn’t know what he’d just done, he just knew that he’d had to do it. In a way it was a relief, a catharsis. In other ways, he knew very well that he had opened up a can of worms that was going to need to be closed if he hoped to keep his best friend, his job, hell, his house. It was long minutes before the sound of the truck’s engine floated in through the closed door.
An odd sense of relief began to wash over him. It was over. Time to move it along. He unfolded himself, and walked dream-like into the kitchen in order to put the groceries away. He opened the freezer door, and the frozen dinners dropped from his suddenly numb hands. Distantly aware of a pain in his left foot, the flip-flops he was wearing offered little protection against the falling boxes. Jared reached into the freezer, and pulled out the beer mug that he’d forgotten was in there. It was kept there to make sure that it was always ready after a long day at work. It was Jensen’s.
With the mug still in his hand, Jared moved around his table, avoiding Jensen’s chair there, and sat down heavily in his usual spot. He placed it carefully on the table, thought fleetingly about grabbing a coaster. Jared laughed at himself over that for a good five minutes, before allowing himself to completely fall apart.
Jensen awoke promptly at 5 a.m. Sunday morning. Like the last couple of mornings, he woke up not really sure of where he was, just filled with a certainty that he was not home. He glanced over at the clock sitting on a small stack of cardboard boxes on the opposite end of the room and remembered. His place. Jensen had yet to mentally define this place as home. He told himself that it would probably take a couple of months and a couple of parties before this place lost its slightly sterile feel.
Groaning inwardly, he stretched, got up, and made his way through the condo, dodging unfamiliar furniture and more partially unpacked cardboard boxes in the grey early morning darkness. He made a crooked march for the coffee pot in the kitchen. He flipped it on, and began to rummage through half filled kitchen cabinets in search of the makings for waffles. This was an Ackles household, after all, and even if just one Ackles lived there, you still made a big breakfast on a Sunday morning. That was just the way it was.
As he worked, he thought about calling Jared. Jensen knew he would be awake, but he also knew that it was too soon to call him, not after the last week they had spent together, and especially not after the night that Jensen had left. He was still kicking himself in the ass over that one.
The thing was, the man drove him crazy. Completely. There was the way that Jared could never keep his hands to himself, like it was some sort of subconscious thing, all the small touches that grew into large, all-encompassing hugs. The feeling of those strong and sure arms wrapped around him drove Jensen to distraction. He wanted something more from Jared, and what was worse, he wanted nothing less than Jared.
The last eight months had been the best and worst time of his life. He had loved the closeness that developed between the two of them. Having lived together had turned them into something that was more than friends, more like family, but in a different way that Jensen could not quite put his finger on. Jared was wonderful, generous almost to a fault, confident and kind. He seemed to know instinctively when Jensen needed to be cheered up, and, more importantly, he knew when Jensen needed to be left alone.
Jensen had to admit that in his book, Jared was just a little shy of perfect.
Jensen had not been lying when he said that the best part of every day was when Jared showed up in the kitchen. What he didn’t mention was the fact that every morning when he showed up, Jensen had resist the urge to stand up, run his hands down his best friend’s back, in order to feel the sleepy warmth he knew was radiating from his skin. Jared also did not know how often Jensen leaned over the back of the couch, as Jared slept stretched out on it, spellbound by the web of small veins on his closed eyelids, and the small flickers there that showed he was dreaming. Or how sometimes Jensen allowed himself to reach out and touch his hair while he slept, just to see if it was as soft as it looked. It always was.
It was for these reasons and more that Jensen had decided to move out. A month ago, he had reckoned his logic flawless. Moving out was the only solution. It was either get out or be found out, and that would have been awkward for both of them. He decided to leave because he was too stupidly scared to allow himself to stay, to go after what he wanted. He decided to move out because he feared that one morning his better judgment would fly out the window, and he would reach out as Jared passed behind him and run a finger along the strip of exposed skin above his boxers and below his t-shirt. Just to see if was as warm as Jensen dreamed it would be. It was for all of these reasons and so many more.
It was because, for as long as he could remember, Jared was the first thing he thought about in the morning and the last thing he thought about at night.
Then there was the night that Jensen left, and the kiss. It really wasn’t a kiss. It was more of an intent, a thought. It was Jared going out on a limb, and Jensen wished with his whole soul best that he had followed him right out onto it. But he hadn’t, he never had been one to jump in after something feet first, but damn if Jared didn’t make him wish that he was.
Jensen pulled himself out of his daydreams and stared at the table, shocked. His thoughts focused on Jared had brought on some sort of muscle memory. Two plates, two mugs, and two sets of silverware stared up at him from the table. In the center was a pile of waffles big enough to feed an army-or Jared-whichever came first.
And if his heart skipped a beat, and a pathetic sound escaped from his lips, well, no one was around to hear it. Jensen figured that was the problem.
So Jensen did what any good Texas boy would do in this situation: he called his mama.
“Hey, what’s wrong, honey?” His mother’s slow drawl was groggy and worried.
“Oh god, mama, I’m sorry.” He had forgotten not only the hour but also the time difference. “Nothing is wrong, I just wanted to talk to someone.”
“Now, baby, a thirty one year old man does not call his mama at,” there was a pause, “7:30 on a Sunday morning unless something is on fire or someone has died…or unless he has seriously done something wrong.”
“I’ll take the third option,” Jensen replied, and pondered how raising three children endowed a person with an astonishing and mystical talent to suss out the true meaning of a situation. “The thing is, I really messed up. This house, this place…it’s great and everything, and I thought I was doing the right thing when I got it, and now I’m pretty sure that Jared is really, and I mean really pissed, uh, sorry mama, I meant mad, and I don’t know what to do to make it better, and it’s only been two days since I heard from him at all, and that got me thinking that in the last four years, I’ve never gone that long without at least talking to him in some form or another, and it just seems to me that I have a lot to figure out,” Jensen paused, before continuing on. “And I guess what this all boils down to is that I am lonely as hell, sorry mama, I meant heck, and I just want to come home.”
“Well, baby,” she replied after several long seconds, “it sounds to me like you do have some figuring out to do. And if you want to go home, well then there is always going to be a place there for you, that is one thing you can always count on.”
“Thanks, mama, sorry for calling you so late…or so early, I don’t know. Go back to sleep, I’ll call you later.” Jensen hung up, feeling a little ashamed.
Two minutes later, as Jensen sat eating his waffles and thinking about their conversation, his fork froze half way to his mouth. Again he was dumbfounded by the insightfulness of mothers. She had said ‘go home,’ not ‘come home.’ It was one small word, but it made a whole world of difference.
Well, now, that was simply remarkable.
It was a Sunday morning, and Jared’s stomach knew there was something not quite right. Even though his mind recognized the certain fact that there was going to be no Ackles-style family breakfast, his appetite had failed to get the idea. He sat on the couch as he absentmindedly considered making something to eat. If he could wait for lunchtime, then perhaps the absence his Sunday routine would not be so terribly missed. Maybe not.
He heard a key working in the lock on the front door, and a second’s worth of surprise turned into a hope that had his heart pounding and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. Who else could it be? No one else had a key.
Quickly he moved to the hall just in time for the door to swing open. Jensen, a little unsure, was filling the doorway.
Jared stared at him for several long moments in the dark shadows created by the overcast early morning sunlight. He looked exhausted, freckles peeking out through too pale skin. Dark circles underlined dark eyes that were redder than after a 15-hour day on set. It looked as if two days had turned into two years worth of restless nights. Jared was fairly sure that he looked just about the same.
“Hi,” Jensen said awkwardly, head tilted up sideways to meet Jared’s eyes. His direct look was penetrating and hopeful at the same time.
Without a word, Jared grabbed Jensen and pulled him across the threshold. Wrapping one long arm around Jensen’s shoulders, he used his other to gently push Jensen’s head against his neck. He wanted to surround him, and lose himself for days in the feeling of Jensen’s hair spiking into his neck and jaw. Jared felt Jensen’s arms tentatively circle around his waist, find their purchase and squeeze tighter, his fingers entwining and pressing into the ridge of his spine. As Jensen gave in to the sensation, his body relaxed completely against Jared’s tall frame. Finally, Jared allowed himself to close his eyes.
Jensen pulled back slightly, releasing his hold on Jared’s waist, but although Jared loosened his grasp on Jensen, he kept his eyes closed, thinking that if he blinked them open some sort of harsh reality would come flooding back in, that this would all end. And he never wanted to see the end of this.
He felt Jensen’s thumb swipe briefly against his lips, leaving a tingling feeling that made Jared’s breath catch in his throat. Jared felt Jensen’s fingers play lightly against his closed eyelids, then one hand gently touched the soft sensitive spot behind his earlobe, as another hand snaked to his side, lifted up his shirt a mere fraction and pressed sure and strong against his skin.
As he stood there in the dark, eyes still closed, Jared knew for certain that this was the single most intimate act of his life.
“God, it is warm,” Jensen breathed, less than a whisper and more like a shared thought.
Before Jared could think of a response or even a question, he felt Jensen’s hands tilt his head downward, felt Jensen’s lips press to his. Jared marveled as how warm and soft they were, and mourned their loss immediately when Jensen pulled back. Not wanting to lose the contact, Jared moved forward, sightlessly, imperceptibly.
That was all the permission that Jensen needed. Jensen moved upward, the heels of his feet leaving the ground, pressing against him, allowing Jared to balance for the both of them. He knew he had no chance of falling. Jensen’s thumbs were a constant pressure on Jared’s cheekbones as his tongue played against the seam of Jared’s lips, darting in quickly as Jared allowed him in.
Seconds, minutes, hours later, Jared wasn’t sure, their lips parted a little, both breathing in a rush. Jared opened his eyes slightly to find Jensen staring at him, he had a peaceful, secret look on his face.
“You know that saying,” Jensen began, and Jared swore he sounded a little wistful, but also swore to never tell him that, “it’s something like… ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in’.”
“Well, then welcome home.”