Genre: J2 AU
Word Count: ~30,000 in five parts and epilogue.
Summary: Jensen knew that he wasn't an uptight person--he was just organized. Jared wasn't as irresponsible as Jensen thought he was--he just knew how to kick back and have a good time. For very different reasons, they each decide to take a cross-country road trip to the west coast. Because of some unexpected circumstances, they end up learning a little about themselves and a lot about each other.
Link to Masterpost
A Thousand Miles Behind ~ Part Four
They walked about another half an hour before the wind picked up and it began to grow colder. Another ten minutes down the road and cold rain began to fall, freezing as it contacted the pavement beneath their feet. Twenty minutes after that and they were being assaulted by icy rain that stung when it hit their faces. Jared decided that he was no longer glad they had come this way. Not at all.
He spotted a structure sitting far back in a field. From where they were it looked to be a barn, and Jared wrestled Jensen’s suitcase from him and started out at a dash to the building, Jensen following closely behind him, holding his jacket over his head.
One of the doors was missing, and Jared peered inside. It was mostly empty, some rusted piece of farm equipment was just barely visible in the shadows of the back corner. A portion of the roof had caved in, and he could see boards falling loose from the hayloft above. The place showed evidence of being abandoned for the better part of a decade, if not longer.
Jensen brushed past him, working his way to the corner of the barn furthest from the hole in the roof, and sat down on his suitcase, drawing his legs up close to his body and resting his head on his knees.
Jared stepped over to Jensen and sat cross-legged in front of him.
“I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things,” Jensen said with a tired smile.
“Pulling out the Tolkien quotes, now are we? Things must be getting dire.” Jared replied. He noticed that Jensen was shivering a little. “You’re cold.”
“You don’t say. I wish I’d packed more heavy clothes… but we were supposed to at least be in southern Arizona by now, so…” he trailed off.
“Here,” Jared said, starting to take off his heavy wool coat. He kneeled in front of Jensen.
“No, don’t, thanks. You need that.”
“I’ll be fine, I’m like a furnace.”
“I’ve noticed,” Jensen said quickly and then looked down when he saw Jared’s questioning expression. “You were warm this morning. It felt good.”
“I thought you were asleep.” Jared paused for a moment, and then wrapped his dark wool coat around Jensen’s shoulders, pulling it closed in the front.
“Maybe I just didn’t want to move. It was nice to wake up next to someone. Next to you.” Jensen at long last raised his chin to look at Jared. His expression had an almost defiantly determined cast to it, as if he was challenging Jared to say something, to scoff or make fun of him. That was the furthest thing from Jared’s mind. He watched Jensen’s tongue flick out, moistening his bottom lip, watched his throat move as he swallowed. “What am I doing?” Jensen said so softly, not even a whisper. He closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. When he opened his eyes again, he fixed Jared with a direct look and spoke softly. “I think I want to kiss you.God, I know I want to kiss you.” His voice was low, with a quality to it that Jared had never heard before, some sort of intensity that made Jared’s breath catch in his throat.
Jensen leaned forward, staring at Jared’s lips, and then hesitantly leaned back. Jared dared not say anything, dared not move, his heartbeat so forceful that he felt the rush of adrenaline tainted blood in his fingers, in cold toes encased in frigid wet boots. He closed his eyes, not trusting the reality of this, and not wanting to see the look on Jensen’s face when his better judgment overrode his impulse.
Jared did not realize that he had been holding his breath until the sensation of Jensen’s lips brushing tentatively across his own caused him to gasp, drawing in a breath of Jensen’s air that was more intoxicating than anything he had ever experienced. Jensen pulled back just a little, sliding his cold nose next to Jared’s, rubbing them back and forth in frozen Eskimo kisses.
Jared had kissed Jensen before, an impulsive thing on a cold and snowy rooftop twelve hundred miles ago. But this was different.This one light brush of lips against lips carried the heavy weight of Jensen’s intent.
Jensen slid forward, the coat falling off as he straddled Jared’s legs, his thighs pressing tightly against Jared’s hipbones, his weight a warm and welcomed pressure on Jared’s lap. He slipped the cold fingers of one hand along the back of Jared’s neck, dipping beneath the collar of his sweatshirt to stroke lightly at the warm skin there, his other hand snaking up to tangle in Jared’s wind messy hair. Jensen tilted his head to the side, ran whisper light kisses along Jared’s smooth jaw, moving up to bite gently at his earlobe, his breath heavy in Jared’s ear. It tickled, sending lightning fast sensations down Jared’s spine. A shiver ran through him.
Jared could have questioned what was going on, what exactly caused this change in Jensen. He could have chalked it up to proximity or circumstances, or the fact that they were basically alone and far from home and surrounded by strangers. But he didn’t, and instead let the feeling of Jensen’s thumb running slow circles along the back of his neck erase any sort of doubt or apprehension.
Jensen’s mouth found his once more, soft full lips pressing warm and dry on Jared’s mouth. Jensen moved back mere inches, green eyes meeting Jared’s hazel ones as Jensen ran a finger along his jaw, looking at Jared as if he were something new and somehow a little miraculous. He reached down and grabbed Jared’s hands where they hung limply by his sides, slid them up along his thighs, bringing them to rest on his hips, giving a slight squeeze to Jared’s fingers before releasing them. Leaning forward again, so close to Jared’s ear that his lips brushed against it as he spoke, Jensen said, “Let me kiss you. I want you to kiss me back.”
Jared discovered that his teeth were chattering a little, whether from the cold or something else he was not really sure. His hands on Jensen’s hips tightened, pulling them closer together, and Jared marveled at the way they fitted together just right, the flawless weight of Jensen atop him, the sensation of legs wrapped snugly around his waist, the feeling when Jensen’s lips met his once more, open and full and warm, the perfect taste of him as Jensen’s tongue met his for the first time.
A small noise escaped the from the back of Jensen’s throat, a sound that was half groan and half whimper, and he tilted his head to deepen the kiss, his hips rolling slightly as Jared tried to pull him impossibly closer.
Jared’s hands found the waistband of Jensen’s jeans, his fingers slipping slightly beneath the fabric to touch the warm silky skin there. Jensen broke the kiss and hissed softly at the cold feeling of those fingers. He lifted his jaw as Jared peppered his neck with open-mouthed kisses, biting the soft flesh, running his tongue along the light stubble on Jensen’s jaw.
Jensen moved his hips backward some, his fingers scrambling along the buckle of Jared’s belt. Jared took hold of them, clasped them between his own hands, and brought them up to his mouth, placing small kisses along Jensen’s fingers.
Jensen stared at him, a question clearly reflecting in his eyes. “No,” Jared said, and hated himself for it. He brought their lips together for a kiss before continuing. “I want this, you cannot believe how badly I want this.” To prove his point he curled his hands around Jensen’s hips and pulled them flush together once more. “But I’ve wished for this, wished for you. And I don’t want this, whatever this is, to happen in a dirty rundown barn where we’re stranded in the middle of an ice storm.”
Jensen looked down and nodded, drawing his reddened lower lip between his teeth and chewing on the skin there. He stood up, pressing heavily on Jared’s shoulders for leverage before extending a hand to help Jared stand. Jared moved behind him, placing a kiss on the back of Jensen’s neck, running his arms low around Jensen’s waist to clasp his hands in front of the both of them.
Jensen turned within the circle of Jared’s arms and looked up at him. “This isn’t a mistake, is it?” he asked. “Because I don't want it to be a mistake.”
“I think you just answered your own question.” Jared tipped Jensen’s head to rest it in the crook of his neck and held him close, thankful that this had not been a sort of fleeting impulsive act. “I think that we should probably change into something dry if we hope to make it through this storm with all of our fingers and toes,” Jared said finally, “then we can… you know… huddle together for warmth, or something.”
“That’s what I was trying to do, you idiot,” Jensen said, a smirk curling on his lips. He turned to his suitcase and started taking out clothes, looking for the warmest layers. He found a dry pair of jeans and turned away from Jared to unbuckle his belt.
“Are you shy all of the sudden?” Jared asked.
“Maybe,” he replied. Even from a few feet away, Jared could hear Jensen’s teeth chattering as he quickly changed, covering his upper body with several dry layers. When he stuck his hand in his pocket, he suddenly spun to Jared, a huge grin spread across his face. In the shadowy light, Jared saw that he was holding something up between his fingers. “Jared, dude. It’s a credit card.”
Jensen looked like he had just found the Holy Grail in the front pocket of his jeans, and Jared thought the he just may have. “Seriously?” he said.
“It’s my dad’s. I must have shoved in this pocket yesterday after I paid for the hotel. He’s gonna be pissed. He wanted me to use it just for emergencies.”
“Well, maybe one will come up,” Jared said, and put his coat back on.
Jensen took three fast steps toward him, bent Jared’s head down and kissed him soundly. Looking down into Jensen’s impish grin, Jared decided that this was something that he could really get used to.
The walk back into town was slower than the trip out had been, but to Jared it seemed to have passed in the blink of an eye. The icy rain had slowed to a drizzle, bouncing off their shoulders and backs and stinging their faces, and turning their hair into stiff little ropes. They walked on the ice covered ground beside the road, their boots crunching through frozen brush and gravel. They kept stealing glances toward each other, Jared’s arm resting comfortably across Jensen’s shoulders. When Jared’s hand got too cold, he reluctantly withdrew his arm, stuffing it into the deep pocket of his coat. After a minute or so, Jensen wormed his hand into Jared’s pocket, entwining their fingers and offering up a shy smile.
“I really hope they don’t roll up the sidewalks here at sundown,” Jared said when they began to see the hazy glint of streetlights ahead of them. His stomach had been talking pretty seriously for the last twenty minutes, reminding him that meals had been too few and far between over the last couple of days.
There was a diner across the street from the bus station, and Jared and Jensen walked in, their road weary appearance and the way that Jensen stood with his arm hooked around Jared’s earning them curious looks from the patrons inside.
By his side, Jensen looked at the small crowd gathered in the greasy spoon with a rather determined expression. Jared suddenly became aware of the fact that Jensen’s proudly defiant streak went well beyond the irritation he showed fellow classmates who wanted to fool around rather than study. Jared wanted to fold under an unkind gaze. Here Jensen was meeting it without flinching. Jensen tightened his grip on Jared’s arm when he made to move away, issuing a silent dare for anyone to say anything.
“I think I’ll order two of everything,” Jensen said once they were ensconced in a booth, his eyes skittering across the menu and his mouth watering due to the mix of smells inside the restaurant.
“Make that four,” Jared said.
Jared ordered coffee, wrapped his hands around the cup to warm them and brought the mug up to his nose. He rolled his eyes at the smell and the warmth of it, and drank half of it down, making a face because of the slight burn.
“I would have pegged you for a cream and sugar sort of guy,” Jensen teased as he poured cream into his cup before taking it into his hands.
“Real men drink it straight.” Jared shook his head.
“And real men eat Skittles and cookies for breakfast, and besides, I didn’t think that you’ve taken anything straight in your whole life,” Jensen shot back.
“Liquor and coffee I take straight. My men? Not so much,” Jared hooked an ankle around Jensen’s under the table, earning a wide smile from the man across him.
Once they were well fed, they made their slippery way down the main street. Jensen had them pass by the first two hotels they saw, finally allowing them to enter into a nicer one. They walked into the office and were greeted by a young woman who stared openly and appreciatively at both of them.
Checking availability, she told them that she had a room open with two double beds.
When she turned to retrieve the key card, Jensen cleared his throat. “Do you have anything with a king sized bed?” He turned slightly to Jared, a shy smile curling up the side of his mouth.
The woman blinked a couple of times, turned her head to look at one and then the other, but then recovered quickly. Jared’s knees nearly buckled beneath him when he heard the price of the room, but Jensen did not even bat an eye at it, only slid the credit card across the counter with a sly wink to the woman, who swiftly handed over the key card.
“That was highway robbery!” Jared hissed when they were out of earshot of the front desk.
“Not my money,” Jensen said with a shrug. His demeanor was overly casual, and Jared saw that it was mostly an act, an effort to be more carefree. It sort of broke Jared’s heart in a way, but at the same time made it skip a beat.
They entered the room, and Jared’s mouth almost watered at the sight of the large bed in the center. He dropped his bag with a clunk right inside the door, his coat falling on top of it and a second later he was falling face first with a sigh into the down comforter and pillows there, his feet dangling part way over the end.
“I’d say this is a lot better than some run down dilapidated barn in the middle of an ice storm,” Jensen said behind him, his voice growing nearer. “And what did I tell you about shoes on the bed?” Jared felt the tug as Jensen unlaced his boots and slid them off of his feet, pausing to rub at Jared’s insteps for a moment. A small, pleased sound came from Jared’s throat at the touch.
He felt the bed dip down as Jensen joined him, laying his upper body across Jared’s back and sliding a thigh between his legs. He placed an open-mouthed kiss to the back of Jared’s neck and spoke softly. “You smell like the highway.”
“I’m not surprised. I’m sure that Kerouac smelled like asphalt, and Ginsberg still had that thing for him.” Jared said, not wanting to leave the comfort of the large mattress and lose the delicious pressure of Jensen atop him, sinking him further into the warm soft bed. Getting up to get cleaned up didn’t seem that important.
“Yeah, well, I don’t write poetry,” Jensen said, “and besides, that didn’t turn out too well for them.”
“Are you trying to tell me something here?”
“Only that I kinda like the smell of the road on you. It sorta fits you.”
Jared squirmed a little, and Jensen shifted to allow him flip onto his back. Jensen settled back down, crossing his arms over Jared’s chest and resting his chin on them. He was so close that Jared’s eyes could barely focus on him. Everything was a little blurry around the edges.
“So you’re saying that you think I’m an aimless wanderer?” Jared asked.
“I bet you hate that.”
“I bet you’re wrong.”
Jensen’s voice was low, rough; the sound of it caused a shiver to run through the entire length of Jared’s body. He drew his arms around the man on top of him and crooked his knees slightly, urging Jensen upward. Placing a large hand on the back of Jensen’s neck, he drew his face close, staring at Jensen’s parted and faintly chapped lips. Their mouths met, both slightly open, their breath mingling before Jared opened up wider, allowing Jensen’s tongue to move in with gentle slow swipes that grew deeper and faster as Jensen’s breathing became ragged and heavy.
Jensen’s hands worked their way beneath Jared’s shirt, pushing it up as he ran his fingers whisper light against his sides. Jared’s stomach muscles tensed at the tickling sensation of their movement, at the feeling of blunt fingernails scraping lightly along his ribs.With a frustrated noise, Jensen broke their kiss, roughly pulling Jared up to yank his shirt off, removing his own before pushing him back down into the bed. Jared wrapped a large hand around the back of Jensen’s neck to bring him closer once more, Jensen’s mouth moving to devour Jared’s with kisses like he was starved for them.
The skin of Jensen’s chest was firm on Jared’s own, soft and hard and warm. Jared ran his hands along Jensen’s back, drinking in the feeling of strong, tight, powerful muscles moving beneath hot skin, skimming his fingers along the ridges of his backbone and the wide planes of his shoulder blades. Jensen rolled his hips down along Jared’s, a small slow undulating motion that made Jared arch his back and all the blood in his body rush to his groin. He could feel the hard line of Jensen’s cock through two layers of denim as it slid along side his own.
Taking Jensen by the shoulders Jared moved fast to flip them over, his intention to allow Jensen to set the pace now lost in a rush of need to feel more of this man now beneath him. He pressed his thigh snugly between Jensen’s legs and the man bucked up, releasing a string of breathy curses as his hands dipped down to grab Jared’s ass. Jensen opened his legs wider, allowing Jared more access, trying to draw him in ever closer.
With his dark hair falling into his eyes, Jared stilled for a few heartbeats, eyes drinking in the sight of the man beneath him. Jensen’s eyelids fluttered, incredibly long lashes splayed along pale skin, his moist bottom lip trapped between even teeth, a small line forming between his brows as he rutted against Jared, his hard length pressing against Jared’s hip over and over again. There was something feral about him that Jared was just now discovering, something primal and completely without reservation. It felt like a secret.
Jared dipped his head down, ran his open lips along Jensen’s neck, pausing to press his tongue to the pulse point, the flesh there moving in a rapid staccato pace with Jensen’s heartbeat. Jensen writhed beneath him, hands moving constantly as they explored the expanse of Jared’s back, fingers dipping beneath the denim of his jeans, nails scratching faintly along the skin on the small of his back. Jared licked a long line along Jensen’s jaw feeling the warm roughness of the stubble there. Returning to Jensen’s mouth, Jared’s tongue ran along Jensen’s teeth, feeling the way they curved in slightly before plunging in to claim his mouth once more with licks and small bites to his lips. He continued to press his hips to Jensen’s with an increasingly desperate rhythm.
Jensen shoved at his shoulders, whispering, “Fucking get my pants off me or in a minute they’ll be no good.”
Jared captured Jensen’s nipple between his teeth, his tongue running in a slow circle before licking along his chest to the other while one hand made fast work of Jensen’s belt.
“Fuck,” Jensen moaned, throwing he head back, burying it in the pillows as Jared ran his tongue along the line of Jensen’s jaw.“You’ve got to show me that.”
“Later,” Jared growled as he moved Jensen’s boxers and jeans down past his hips, Jensen helping to kick them off. Jared dove back down to claim Jensen’s lips once more, sucking the swollen, rose colored flesh of Jensen’s lower lip into his mouth, nipping lightly and tugging.
Jared flipped to his back with a moan, turning his attention to his own belt. Jensen batted his hands away, his fingers scrambling along the fasteners, and with one swift motion pulled them off. He worked his way back up along Jared’s legs, biting and kissing the warm skin of Jared’s inner thighs before licking a wide stripe from the base to the tip of Jared’s swollen cock as it arced toward his belly.
He ran suckling kisses along the head of Jared’s cock, teasing little licks until Jensen finally took him into his mouth. Jensen’s teeth caught a little on the underside of the crown, along the sensitive bundle of nerves there, shooting a sensation through Jared’s body that was almost, but not quite, painful and entirely breathtaking. Jared sunk deeper into the mattress, fighting the urge to thrust up and force himself into the heat of Jensen’s mouth.
Jensen grabbed him by his hips, pulling him up and then pushing him down, a humming noise emerging from the back of his throat as his head bobbed one, two, three times, excruciatingly slow. He pulled off, tongue flicking along the leaking slit as he wrapped a hand around the base and squeezed. “I want you to move… fuck my mouth,” he said, his voice husky and low.
The sound of Jensen’s breathy voice, its tone commanding, the sight of his dark eyes, now so serious, caused Jared’s hips to lift up involuntarily, the head of his cock scraping lightly against Jensen’s teeth. Jared knew that if this went on much longer this was going to be the shortest blowjob in history, but right then he couldn’t care less. He thrust his hips again into Jensen’s waiting and willing mouth. Jensen hollowed his cheeks, creating delicious suction and allowed Jared to set the pace as he pushed up in short quick irregular jerks.
“Deeper,” Jensen breathed, pulling back and licking his lips. “I want to feel you, all of you. I need to taste you.”
Jared plunged into the tight ring of Jensen’s lips again, pushing himself in to the root, the palm of his hand laid on the back of Jensen’s head, fingers running through the prickly short hair there. Heels digging into the soft mattress as Jared thrust up, deeper, even deeper. Jensen’s hands clutched Jared’s ass, held him there, lips stretched tight around Jared’s length. Jensen hummed and then swallowed around him, setting every nerve in Jared’s body immediately on fire, Jared’s toes curling and his fingers tangling in the sheets of the now wrecked bed. He came with a cut off yell, feeling Jensen’s throat working around him as he continued to swallow. Jensen pulled back, small licks cleaning the last traces of come off of Jared’s sensitive flesh.
Crawling along his prone form, Jensen peppered Jared’s body with light kisses, finally bringing their mouths together, the slightly bitter taste of Jared still heavy on his tongue. Jared allowed himself be shifted to his side, felt his softening cock twitch and begin to fill again when Jensen grabbed him at the base and squeezed. Jensen hooked a leg around his hip sliding himself along Jared, a movement of smooth hard flesh against flesh.
Jared reached between them, his fingers entwining with Jensen’s as he began to slip and slide along their lengths, his tongue seeking out Jensen’s mouth and moving in and out, the pace matching that of their hands.
Jensen broke the kiss, his mouth issuing a constant litany of curses and nonsense. “S’good, you taste so good, want you, fuck.” Over and over again he breathed, his hips moving to increase the friction. Fingers tangled in Jared’s hair as Jensen brought their foreheads together. Jared’s vision tunneled until all he could see was the darkness of Jensen’s blown pupils, all he could feel was the sensation of Jensen’s cock sliding up and down in his fist, all he could smell was the salty tang of Jensen’s sweat.
“Come with me. God you are so fucking beautiful. I want to see you fall apart,” Jensen panted, his movements growing jerky. With one more jerk of their joined hands, Jared was spilling hot and sloppy over their fists. Jensen followed a second later, issuing a near whimper from between clenched teeth, painting their abdomens with sticky white strings.
They clutched their sweaty bodies together, a tangle of arms and legs. Both men bucked lazily against each other, riding out the aftershocks of their combined orgasms, their sweat slicked skin sliding together, nerve endings misfiring and flesh feeling fever sensitive, tingling. Their mouths were open against each others, not kissing, really, only sharing panting shallow breaths.
Jared shivered minutes later when the heat of Jensen’s body disappeared as Jensen stumbled into the bathroom, returning with a warm cloth. He rubbed it along Jared’s belly. At Jared’s questioning glance he said, “You already know that I’m a neat freak.”
“Yeah, a neat freak with a dirty mouth,” Jared replied with a playful bite to Jensen’s shoulder.
“So I’m a mess of contradictions. There’s a lot you don’t know about me.” Jensen tried to make sense of the tangled mess of sheets, blankets and pillows. Finally, he settled in next to Jared, his thumb tracing a slow line along Jared’s collarbone.
“There’s a lot I’m hoping to find out.” Jared said.
Jared could feel Jensen smile against his chest. “Me too,” he said.
Jared awoke to the sound of a voice humming a slightly familiar song soft and low into his ear. The room was mostly dark, a small light shining through from the bathroom behind a slightly open door. The red light of the clock showed an obscenely early four o’clock in the morning.
Jensen was behind him, his body curled around Jared’s beneath the warm blankets, breath tickling the shell of Jared’s. Jared decided that it was the best sort of alarm clock that he had ever known.
Suppressing a grin, he rolled over, stretched expansively and wrapped a hand loosely around Jensen’s hip, Jared sliding a leg between his. Jensen’s hair was still slightly damp from a shower, he smelled clean, a little like lemons from the shampoo provided by the hotel.
Jared felt Jensen’s lips curl up in a content smile as Jared leaned in for a chaste kiss, marveling at the idea that he was somehow allowed to do this now, and thinking that if he could get up everyday for the rest of his life with the feeling of Jensen’s skin against his own, well, then his life would be a beautiful one.
“I never really knew that it was possible to wake up at this hour,” Jared grumbled as his eyes slid closed again. “I mean, you hear about it happening, sort of like you hear about alligators in the sewers. But it's one of those things that you never really believe possible. At least not in any way but the most abstract or theoretical sense.”
“Do you always wake up this philosophical in the morning?” Jensen asked.
“I don’t know. I usually don’t wake up in the mornings. I’m more of a middle of the afternoon type of guy.”
“Well, that would explain your grade in your 8 am English class.”
“So where are we going today?” Jared changed the subject. “There has to be a reason for being up at this ungodly hour.” This was a subject that needed to be broached. They had both been dancing around it for the better part of a day, and Jared decided to get it over with.
With a small groan, Jensen got up and began to rummage through his backpack. Unconsciously, Jared licked his lips at the sight of Jensen’s silhouette as he approached the bed once more, now holding a piece of paper.
Landing heavily on the bed and once more facing Jared, Jensen turned the paper in his hand to pick up the faint light. “First bus leaves at five fifteen. Thus the aforementioned ungodliness.”
Covering his eyes with an arm, Jared smirked a little at Jensen’s ever-present compulsion to organize. There had been a lot of progress made, but apparently there was a lot further to go.
“We could go to San Antonio. It’s a free place to stay, the food’s good,” Jared shrugged. The overly casual tone of the statement was a cover up for what Jared was really saying, which was how he really didn’t want to part ways at this point. The thought of that was more awful than waking up this early in the morning, and that was pretty terrible.
“No, I’m going to California,” Jensen said, running a thumb along the line of Jared’s jaw.
“Oh, Tim, huh?”
“It’s Tom. He’s expecting me.”
Jared felt a sharp stab of disappointment burrow into his stomach. With a sigh he threw back the covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Arms came up behind him and encircled his shoulders.
“But I want you to come with me,” Jensen said, placing a kiss on the soft spot right below his ear.
“Oh?” Jared said quizzically.
Now that would cause quite a stir, on more levels than Jared cared to count. First, there was the boyfriend showing up to see the other boyfriend with perhaps and hopefully a third boyfriend in tow. He could never be too sure, but Jared’s sister had dragged him to enough dreadful romantic comedies on enough Saturday afternoons to be fairly certain that this sort of scenario never panned out too well. Then there was Chad, and more importantly this sure thing that he kept alluding to. The sure thing that had completely lost it’s allure somewhere in western Ohio the instant Jensen walked out of that shower. There was always the possibility of somehow avoiding his friend, but Chad would somehow find out. He always did. It was like the guy had an ‘in’ with the CIA or something. If Jared made it all the way to California and didn’t see him, Chad would know. It was inevitable. He would never let him hear the end of it. Besides he should really go see his family in Texas, avoid the whole potential shooting match of love triangles and sure things and a pissed off Chad and his CIA connections. It would be like The Alamo all over again, and this Texan thought it best to hedge his bets.
Opening his mouth to tell Jensen all of this, Jared was a little shocked when instead what came out was, “Okay.” Damn.
They had been on the bus and somewhere west of Phoenix when Jared lost all real connection to his feet. No more aching, no more pins and needles, just a vague awareness of something a little heavy attached to the lower parts of his legs. No amount of shifting and stretching in the cramped seat had helped to regain feeling in them.
He now stood outside of the crowded travel center right on the border of California and Arizona, stomping his feet and trying to get the blood flowing back into them. The parking lot was full of cars loaded with Christmas presents, silly wreathes tied to the front grills of SUV’s. Overexcited children dashed around, their parents allowing them to burn off energy on the trip to grandma’s house, and bedraggled looking college students on the way home for the holiday wandered around aimlessly. Jared peered down the expanse of Interstate 15 that ran behind the building, cars speeding along it, the evening sun glinting off of their windshields. It was like a long straight path to the gallows. His desire to stay with Jensen was warring with his hardwired need for self-preservation.
They hadn’t really talked about what was going to happen when they got to California. Jared knew that there was going to be some sort of parting of ways between Jensen and Tom, thought that Jensen wanted to do all of this face to face. But what then? Would they go and stay with Chad for a few days? That would certainly be an eye opening experience for everybody.
He wondered where this need to plan things was coming from, and decided that Jensen had to be rubbing off on him some. Before he knew it he would probably be scheduling chemistry labs at eight o’clock on Saturday mornings and writing lunchtimes on post-it notes and planning showers accordingly. Then he would start yelling at Misha for thinking too goddamn loud when Jared was trying to read.
His phone rang in his pocket. It was Chad. Jared had been avoiding calling him over the last couple of days. He figured that he would call him when and if he knew where he would end up. With a sigh, he answered the call.
“My prodigal son,” Chad said by way of greeting. “The wayward wanderer himself.”
“Yeah, sorry I’ve been out of touch. Things have been a little interesting.” Jared thought that an understatement was a lot easier than an explanation.
“You are still coming, right? Because I’ve been throwing this party for the past couple of days now, and folks are starting to realize that it’s missing its guest of honor.“
“Yeah, I’m taking a bus, we should be there at about 11 tonight.” Jared realized his mistake as soon as Chad opened his mouth.
“Great. I’ll meet you there.” With that his friend hung up.
Before Jared could call Chad back, the sliding doors opened and Jensen walked between them, his gait a little stiff from hours sitting on the bus. He arched his back in a long stretch, and Jared reached out to run a hand along the exposed pale skin of Jensen’s lower belly when his shirt hiked up a bit.
“We’re almost there,” Jared pointed out.
“What’s going to happen?”
“I don’t know.” Jensen broke eye contact and stared at his feet.
“Fair enough,” Jared nodded. “Do you have a ride from the bus stop?”
“Yeah.” Still no eye contact from Jensen. “I called Tom when we stopped back in Phoenix.”
“Fair enough,” Jared repeated, following Jensen back up the steep steps and back onto the bus.