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My Odds Are Stacked

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Jake sat at the bar and flagged down the bartender, feeling like his insides were on fire. He blamed his sister for his current predicament. She was the one with the bright idea for him to talk about feelings with Cougar and to lay it all out on the table. She had done a fucking Doctor Phil on him and convinced him that allowing things to continue in the current fashion was a bad idea. Jake was in love with Cougar and Cougar deserved to know that.

Jake had tried to point out all the ways that could go horribly wrong and that the thought of losing the relationship he did have with Cougar didn't seem worth it. Except his sister, in her best self-help guru tone, kept telling him that life was too short and he deserved more than what he was allowing himself, so if Cougar couldn't give that to him, it was time to move on. Blah, blah, blah.

When Clay and Roque suggested the group go out to the local bar to celebrate another successful mission, Jake had decided it was his chance to finally admit how he felt. Jake figured they could have some fun with their team and, maybe with enough liquid courage, he would be able to find the words that apparently were completely obvious to the world (according to his sister). The problem was that as much as Jensen loved to talk, he wasn't necessarily great with expressing what he really felt. As much as he used words as a way to arm himself, words could be cheap. There weren't always the right words to properly explain what something or someone meant to him and they wouldn’t come out no matter how hard he tried. At least not without a lot of stuttering and saying the wrong thing and ruining the moment.

He had a plan and that was probably where things had gone off track. Because plans never worked for him and he was anxious long before he spied Cougar and his latest play thing.

Jensen realized how pathetic he was, sitting at the bar, nursing a bottle of tequila while he tried to pinpoint the moment he had fallen so hard for his best friend. Why was it never like the movies where the answer to every problem was something simple like a hair cut? If shaving and a new hair style were all it took for Cougar to love him, he might consider it.

Probably not though. Without the goatee he looked twelve years old and he was fond of his in-your-face appearance most of the time. It tended to keep people from bothering him. Which was probably why he would be a shit heroine in a romantic comedy.

"I've been looking for you," Cougar said, tapping him on the shoulder and slipping onto the stool next to Jensen. He eyed him over carefully and asked, "How much Tequila have you had?"

"Not nearly enough," Jensen replied. He pointed at Cougar and said, "Don't give me that look. Stop. It makes me think you care about me when you obviously don't."

Cougar eyes flickered with confusion before his expression morphed into one of nothing but concern.  Jensen wanted to hate him for it because while Cougar might care for him, it wasn't the way Jensen wanted.  It was the same thing he would do for anyone else on the team, nothing more.  Cougar had better things to do with his free time than to waste it on a loser tech op who had too much to drink. This whole thing was bullshit.  Jensen didn't want Cougar simply because Cougar felt obliged to be there, especially when he knew there was somewhere else that Cougar would rather be.

"What makes you think I don't care?" Cougar asked, lifting an eyebrow in an almost challenge.

Jensen bit down on his lip to keep from blurting out how he had seen Cougar making out with the hot, dark haired guy earlier. Jensen had gone to the bathroom to work up the courage to approach the I-love-you conversation only to come back in time to get a good look at Cougar swapping spit with a guy who was much more in Cougar's league. It was like a swift kick to the gut and Jensen wasn't sure why he thought this could ever go well.  His stupid sister had gotten inside his brain and convinced him he might be able to have more; that maybe the way Cougar's eyes lingered on him meant something.

It didn't and now he was a big fucking idiot. Jensen went to pour himself another shot, but Cougar pushed the bottle away. He said, "I think you've had enough, Jensen."

"Not nearly."

"What's going on?" Cougar asked.

Jake stared at him for a second, trying to squelch the irrational surge of betrayal that burned through him. Cougar hadn’t done anything wrong. He was being Cougar, same as he always was, and that was the problem.   It was like a shot to the gut watching Cougar observe him like this. Jensen wanted to reach out and grab a hold of Cougar, claiming him with a rough kiss until he forgot all about that other guy. Maybe then Cougar would simply understand what Jake was too afraid to say.

The problem was that Cougar would hit him, push him away, or worse; stop talking to him.  And Jake really did think that a friendship with Cougar was better than nothing in the long run. Cougar laughed at his jokes and never seemed to mind when a new topic caught Jensen's interest (he couldn't help it if the history of bubble wrap was actually fascinating) that he needed to share with everyone. Cougar had patched him up more times than he could count and made sure he slept after long sessions of coding. Cougar was the best friend Jensen had ever had, so he would find a way to suck it up and be happy for Cougar.

Just not right then. Jensen didn't have it in him, pretending felt like a wound that kept getting ripped back open, and he wished Cougar would stop being so damn nice to him. Jake ran a hand over his face, trying to remove the emotions written all over his face, and finally he said, "You're my best friend, Cougar."

Cougar smiled at him and it nearly did him in. He replied, "And you're mine."

Jensen realized that last tequila had probably been one too many because now there were two Cougars watching him with careful expressions. Jensen noticed Cougar’s hand resting on top of his and he pulled it away. He frowned and said, "You don't owe me anything. I know how annoying I can be."

"Jensen..."

"If you want to leave or go off with your new friend, I won't be upset," Jensen lied. Cougar's eyes flashed with something that Jensen couldn't place and he had never felt so far away from Cougar. Jensen hopped off his barstool and Cougar's hand was there, helping to keep him upright. Jensen pushed him away, managing not to stumble where he stood out of sheer will, and said, "Seriously, dude. I know Clay puts you on babysit Jensen duty, but it's not fair to you. So go. I can get home myself."

"Go where?" Cougar asked. He grabbed Jensen by the nape of his neck and asked, "How much did you have to drink, cabrón?"

"Not enough for this conversation," Jensen replied. He placed his hand on Cougar's shoulder and said, "I thought I could do this. Seize the moment and all that shit, but it’s not…it was stupid.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I'm letting you go, Cougs. No need for both of us to be miserable."

"Jake..."

"I saw you earlier with that guy and good for you. You deserve to have fun. Not your fault I'm in love with you,” Jensen replied, lifting his arms in an exaggerated shrug.

"You're what?"

"Well, shit," Jensen replied. He stepped away from Cougar and walked toward the door. He made it to the street before Cougar grabbed him. Jake spun around and, in his attempts to push Cougar away, ended up flailing about like a crazy person.  He groaned as he bent over to make the spinning sensation stop.  He felt Cougar's hand on his back, warm and comforting, and Jensen couldn't handle it.  He stepped away, stumbling slightly, pointed at Cougar and said, "Just stop, okay? I love you. I had this whole big spiel planned, but you were busy and I didn't want to intrude...and it's just...I love you, but you don't want me and that's cool. I'll get over it and everything will be fine, but can you please just give me the night? Stop worrying about me and acting like I matter when it's clear that I don't."

"You're not a-"

"-Cougar, stop. It's fine. I love you and I always knew it was a long shot that you would love me back. You're way out of my league and I know that. I get it. I’m an annoying pain in the ass who never says the right thing and you’re like this amazingly hot and super cool person. Much more suited for that guy I saw you with earlier…so I'm gonna bail and you have fun."

Cougar started to follow after him and Jake stopped, suddenly feeling more angry than sad. He crossed his arms over his chest and scowled at Cougar as he said, "Stop trying to be my friend right now, Cougar. It's not what I need."

"What do you need?"

"For you to leave me alone," Jensen replied. He sighed and tried to ignore the ache in his chest at the confused and hurt expression on Cougar's face. He clapped Cougar on the back and said, "Look. I'm not mad at you. Not really. You didn't do anything wrong except be amazing all the fucking time and impossible not to love, but that's not on you. But don't ask me to stay here and watch, okay? I'm done with that."

"Jensen, let me get you home."

"Your date-"

"Idiota. He's not my date."

"Fine. Your hook-up is probably waiting for you," Jensen replied. He stumbled over his feet and nearly face-planted onto the sidewalk. He clutched his stomach, feeling that last shot churning in his chest, and groaned. He wished the pavement would open up and swallow him whole, but no such luck.

Cougar wrapped an arm around him, pulling Jensen close until all he could smell was Cougar's shampoo and cologne, and guided him over to a bench down the block.

Cougar patted him gently on the face, forcing Jensen to focus on him, and said, "I'm not leaving you alone when you're like this."

"Pooch is back at the house already. I'll be fine. No reason for both of us to be miserable," Jensen replied. He forced a smile and said, "Seriously, Cougs. It's cool."

Cougar rolled his eyes and said, "I need to go back inside for a minute. I'll let Clay know we're heading out and grab our coats. Will you be okay?"

"I don't need a babysitter. I'm fine," Jensen replied petulantly.  He could hear the whining in his voice and knew he was pouting, but why did Cougar have to make this so damn hard? 

"Jake," Cougar replied, grabbing his chin and eyeing him over.

Jensen swatted his hand away and said, "I can take care of myself."

Cougar sighed.  Jake felt Cougar's hand land on his head, fingers tangling in Jake's hair and giving his head a shake.  There was exasperation evident in Cougar's voice as he said, "But you don't have to."

Jensen felt his gut twist and his heart ache with want. He wanted to lean into Cougar's touch, but Cougar didn't mean it the way Jensen wanted him to and there was only so much Jensen could handle at the moment. Cougar smiled at him and said, "I'll be right back. Don't move."

"You don't-"

"-Callate."

"You're too nice to me, Cougs. It's confusing as fuck," Jensen lamented, staring up at the night sky. He took a deep breath in hopes of keeping himself from puking. He really should have stopped drinking about four shots ago. Another in a long list of regrets.

Cougar muttered something in Spanish that Jensen couldn't make out and walked off toward the bar. Jensen noticed the man from earlier practically pounce on Cougar as soon as he made it to the entrance and that was all the confirmation Jensen needed that this was possibly one of the worst nights of his life. And that included the goddamn mission from hell in Siberia where he nearly froze his balls off.

Jensen sighed and stood up. The last thing he wanted to do was have Cougar take pity on his pathetic ass and escort him home in uncomfortable silence. Jake was in love with Cougar and he had to find a way to suck it up and move on because it was obvious that Cougar didn't return those feelings.

He took a deep breath and allowed the cold air to clear his head enough that he could move. He rolled his head to the side, stretching his neck before he jogged off across the street to the park.  He darted into the wooded area as fast as possible before Cougar returned. He followed one of the paths further into the park before he collapsed on another bench. He couldn't deal with Cougar hovering over him when he didn't want to be there. Jensen could be a selfish asshole, but he tried not to be completely delusional.

Jensen shut his eyes, praying to every deity he knew of to make Cougar forget this night ever happened. He pulled out his phone, ready to shoot off a nasty text to his sister about her terrible advice, when two men approached him. He held up his hands and said, "Look guys, I don't have my wallet or coat, so you might as well keep moving."

One of the men sat down next to Jensen and he reeked of cologne to the point that Jensen gagged. He said, "Dude, seriously, no woman wants to deal with that smell."

"We got a wise guy," the man said.

The other guy chuckled and pulled out a gun. Jensen groaned because he was not in the mood for this. He held up his hands, trying to act nervous. When the man got a little closer, Jensen sent one elbow flying into the face of the stinky asshole sitting next to him and kicked the legs out from under the man standing over him, following it up with a fist to the jaw as he grabbed the gun out of the man’s hand. He stood up and pointed the gun at both of them, pushing both men onto the bench. A part of him was tempted to shoot them both in the knees or something, but that would just create a lot of problems and he was pretty sure that Clay would ream him out for hours as punishment.

Jensen cursed under his breath and commented, "Worst mugging ever."

When one of the men shifted like he was going to move, Jensen pointed the gun at his head and said, "Move again and I'll shoot both of you. It's that kind of fucking night."

Jensen reached out and patted the two men down, grabbing another gun out of the smelly bastard's coat as well. He shook his head - nothing like being attacked at gun point to shake off a buzz - and said, "Well, this has been so much fun, but I'm gonna leave now."

“It didn’t have to go down like this, kid,” the man said.

"Yeah, we just wanted the money we're owed," Mr. Terrible Cologne added.

"I don't owe you shit," Jensen replied.  He removed the clip from the one gun and emptied the chamber, tossing it into the woods before shoving the gun into his pants. He kept the other gun pointed at the men and walked backwards down the path. Just as he was about to turn onto an adjoining path, he was hit with a fucking dart. He groaned and dropped to his knees.  Only he could have a night at a bar end with a goddamn tranq gun.

"Told you we might need the back-up," an additional man stated, hopping out of a tree.

"Motherfucker," Jensen moaned as the two men from earlier hovered over him and kicked him onto the ground on his back. One of the men crushed his phone under his boot while the other pried the gun out of Jensen's hand and hit him over the head with it.

Jensen vaguely remembered thinking that maybe he should have let Cougar walk him home after all before everything went black.

**

Jensen woke up handcuffed to a small cot that was bolted to the floor and his whole body ached. He glanced around for some sign of where he might be, but it was an old dirt room. No windows and only one door that seemed to be made of reinforced steel and didn't fit with the rest of the room. He groaned and tried to do a quick inventory of his injuries to see if he would be able to run for it when the time came. His chest was burning, his head was throbbing, with everything slightly fuzzy, and he was still too drunk for this shit.

He could hear voices coming from outside the room and he stood himself up carefully. He ignored the pain that coursed through his right side and he yanked on the cot, hoping to break it enough that he could get his hand free, but he couldn’t get it to budge. He sat down on the floor and used his free hand to pull at one of the springs on the old bed frame. It cut his fingers up, but after a few minutes, he managed to break a small piece off that he could use to pick the lock on the handcuffs.

Whoever he was dealing with weren't professionals...at least not any worth his time.

Freed, he rubbed his wrist and moved to the door to listen to what was going on. He could still hear voices, but none seemed to be too close. He pulled on the door to try to figure out the locking mechanism only to discover the damn door was unlocked. He wasn't sure if he was amused or pissed off that no one had bothered to lock the door. Jensen was beginning to resent the fact that people seemed to think he was the weak fucking link of the Losers. No one ever went after Roque or Cougar like this. They had all made plenty of enemies over the years, including other soldiers on base, but Jensen seemed to be the only one constantly ending up in these ridiculous predicaments.

Jensen carefully opened the door and hobbled into the hallway, ignoring the whoosh of dizziness that overwhelmed him. He bit back a groan, feeling nausea kick in, and cursed his goddamn luck. He made it about a hundred feet before Mr. Eau de Stink from earlier appeared from around a corner.

The man was momentarily startled. He said, “How?”

“I’m a fucking soldier, asshole,” Jensen snapped, punching him in the throat and knocking him to the ground. Jensen quickly patted the man down, taking his gun and phone.   He grabbed the man and pulled him into a side room another hundred feet down. It was another windowless room, but it gave Jake some cover when the Cologne Abuser's partner came strolling down the hall like he didn't have a care in the world.

Jake waited until the man was about to pass by before he lifted the gun to the man’s head and said, “Get in here.”

“Kid, you’ve got-“

“-don’t. The only thing I want to know is how to get out of here.”

“You won’t.”

Jensen rolled his eyes and pressed the gun into the man’s temple. He said, “Wrong answer.”

“Your boss owes some people some money. You were just our collateral so he would pay up. As long as he coughs up the cash, we’ll let you go,” the man stated.

Jensen hit the man over the head with the gun. When he fell to the ground, Jensen pushed him over next to the other guy and kicked them both for good measure. He was going to murder Clay for this bullshit. His night had sucked enough without being used as leverage because Clay didn’t know how to walk away from the ponies or repay his debts.

**

Less than fifteen minutes later Jensen had taken out another two hired hands and cleared them out of their money and weapons. It served them right for underestimating him. Why did everyone think that just because he was a tech op, he was somehow slower and less capable than the others?

He stepped out into the night air, seeing the early signs of morning starting to show in the sky, and tried to figure out where he was.   He appeared to be on the edge of an industrial park, but most of the buildings around were busted up and looked abandoned.  There were no street signs or landmarks to help him identify his location, so he was going to have to walk. 

He took one of the knives he had purloined and quickly went to work on destroying the three cars in front of him. He didn’t want to be followed and they had it coming. Never let it be said that Jacob Jensen wasn’t a vindictive bastard when given the opportunity.

He walked a few blocks, trying to ignore the pain in his foot that hadn't been there before he was attacked, and made his way toward a more well-lit street.  He stopped when he reached a row of small businesses and decided to move away from the road while he figured out what to do next.  The last thing he wanted was for those idiots to find him again.

Jensen turned into a small alley, ignoring the sounds of what he hoped was a cat roaming around, and pulled out the phone he had taken.  He disabled the password on the phone on the first try because of course these small time thugs used 1-2-3-4 and dialed Pooch’s number. No one answered.  He cursed under his breath, but he didn’t have many options except to start walking again.  He slung the bag with their shit over his shoulder, hissing when pain burned through his back, and made his way further into the alleyway to an area littered with trash.  He pulled a wad of cash out of the front of the bag and shoved it into his pocket and tossed everything else into a dumpster. 

As he hurried back out onto the street, he tried to increase his pace.  The more distance he put between himself and his evening from hell, the better he hoped he would feel.  He dialed Pooch’s number again, but he still didn't answer. As he approached an intersection, Jensen felt a little relief when everything looked familiar.  He had a vague idea of where he was, not too far from base, but it would be a bitch to travel the whole way on foot.  He took a picture at the intersection of the street names and texted it to Pooch, followed by an annoyed picture of himself. He dialed the other man one more time because Pooch’s was the only fucking phone number other than Cougar’s that he knew from memory and he just wanted to go home.

“Jay?” Pooch answered on the first ring.

“Come get me.”

“Cougar’s out looking for you. Said you left before him.”

“He is?”

“He said you were drunk.”

“I am, but nothing kills a buzz like getting jumped by people that Clay owes money to.”

“What?”

“I’m fine. I’m good. I just need someone to come get me.”

“Jay…”

“I got clocked with the butt of a gun and I was handcuffed to a stupid cot in some dilapidated building and I just really need a ride because if I have to walk much more, I’m going to pass out on the sidewalk.”

“I’ll send Cougar to get you.”

“Can’t you do it?”

“He’s already worried about you and pissed off that you took off. He freaked out when he got home and you weren’t there-“

“-I told him not to cut short his date.”

“His date?” Pooch replied. Jensen could actually hear Pooch shaking his head as he went on, “You’re both fucking morons and I don’t know why I put up with either of you.”

"Can't this wait until you've picked me up?"

"Jay, you don't sound too good."

"What part of hit over the head and jumped did you not understand? Are you seriously going to make me walk home? Because then I'll be pissed off," Jensen said in a huff. He glanced around the area and went on, “Look. I need to ditch this phone in case those idiots actually know how to work the find-my-phone app. They’re not going to be too pleased with me when they regain consciousness.”

Pooch laughed and said, “I’m not sure I want to know.”

“No, you don’t, so come get me.  I'll be heading east on Lee Avenue,” Jensen replied, hanging up the phone. He broke it in half and tossed it into the sewer drain before continuing to walk down the street. He wanted to put more distance between himself and his captors and hopefully it wouldn't be long until Pooch showed up.

**

Jensen had walked another few blocks when he heard the familiar rumble of Pooch’s truck. He turned his head as the truck pulled over and then Cougar was jumping out of the driver’s seat and grabbing him. Pooch was a no good traitorous bastard and Jensen was going to make him rue the day when he could properly function again. Jensen frowned and said, “I told him not to bother you.”

Cougar glared at him, but his hands were gentle as they rubbed up and down his arms. He cupped Jensen’s face between his hands, forcing Jensen to focus on him, and asked, “You okay?”

“No, not really,” Jensen replied honestly.

Cougar shook his head and said, “I told you to wait for me.”

“And I told you I didn’t need a babysitter,” Jensen replied. Off Cougar’s expression, Jensen shrugged and said, “This was totally not my fault. I was drunk, but I would’ve found my way home just fine if Clay could stop losing money he doesn’t have to a goddamn stupid bookie.”

Cougar actually growled when his fingers traced over the large welt on Jensen’s forehead. He said, “Lo siento.”

“Not your fault. I totally blame Clay for this shit,” Jensen replied.

“I’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again, Jensen.”

“You don’t have –“

“-it won’t happen again,” Cougar repeated, his fingers brushing against the hairs at the nape of Jensen's neck. Cougar shifted so that he could wrap his arm around Jensen more securely and said, “I shouldn’t have left you alone.”

"I'm not a goddamn damsel in distress that needs rescuing, asshole. I can do just fine on my own without ruining your dates or hook-ups or whatever."

Cougar started talking a mile a minute in Spanish, basically chiding Jensen for god only knew what and Jensen was this close to losing his shit completely. He had a brief moment of clarity where he knew he was being a complete jackass and that Cougar didn't deserve his ire when all Cougar was trying to do was take care of him...but it flickered away with a gust of wind and Jensen was wiggling free of Cougar's hold on him and crossing his arms over his chest in a proper sulk.

Cougar gave him the stink eye, something he usually reserved for when Jensen stole the last of his chocolate or left a mouthful of juice in the refrigerator. Cougar said, "I wanted to take you home, but you left."

Jake sighed. This conversation was going nowhere and it was getting cold. He replied, “Can we finish this conversation in the car? I’m fucking tired.”

Cougar manhandled him into the passenger’s seat, his hands wandering over Jensen to check for anything else amiss. Normally, Jensen would have loved the attention he was getting from Cougar. Convinced himself it meant something more, allowed himself to believe that Cougar was never like this with anyone else on the team. But Jensen was too sick and tired of everything. He swatted Cougar’s hands away and said, “Don’t. I’m fine.”

“Jake…”

“Can you just drive us back to the house please?”

Cougar stared at him, nothing but concern and care evident in his eyes, and Jensen had to look away. He swallowed back the words that wanted to tumble out of his mouth and shut his eyes.

**

Jensen woke up to arms wrapped around him and hauling him out of the truck. He groaned and tried to push away, but Cougar’s grip only tightened. Cougar started muttering at him in Spanish again and Jensen hated when he did that because he had no idea what the sniper was saying, but he was pretty sure it was nothing polite. He was vaguely aware of Pooch and Roque helping to get him upstairs, along with some angry declarations geared at Clay and then he was out again.

When he woke up the next time, his head was pounding and there were two aspirin sitting on the night table alongside a glass of water. He downed the pills and sat up, running a hand through his hair. He could hear voices filtering up from downstairs and glanced at the clock to see that it was already night again and he had been out for awhile. He leaned back against the pillows and groaned, looking himself over and noticing the bruises and welts on his side.

Jensen shut his eyes, trying to figure out exactly how he was supposed to deal with the mess from the night before. He had blurted out that he loved Cougar like it was common knowledge and he wished like hell he could rewind time and stop himself from being such an ass.

Jensen heard Cougar's familiar footsteps, but they stopped short of the room. A part of Jensen wanted to ignore him. Pretend to be asleep until he could get a lid back on his feelings and then they could move on like nothing happened. But Jensen was a glutton for punishment and he called out, “You just gonna hover or are you coming in?”

Cougar peered his head around the corner, his eyes traveling over Jensen like he was all that mattered, and he asked, “How do you feel?”

“Like I was hit by a train.”

“Clay and Roque took care of those men,” Cougar stated. Jensen hadn’t really expected any less. His team might find him annoying most of the time, but he was still a Loser and they took care of their own. Cougar sat down on the edge of Jensen’s bed and said, “You robbed them. Roque was impressed.”

“Bastards thought I was an idiot or something, so I had to teach them a lesson,” Jensen replied with a shrug.

“Good,” Cougar replied.

Jensen noticed Cougar was looking anywhere but at him and realized it was his fault. He had ruined things and he couldn’t stand the thought that he was going to lose Cougar as a friend. He said, “Listen, Cougs, I’m really sorry about last night. I was kind of hoping we could forget it ever happened.”

“No.”

“Cougar, please. I had a lot to drink and you know that the little filter I do possess disappears when there is too much alcohol involved,” Jensen replied, his tone pleading.

“Did you mean it?”

“Huh?” Jensen scratched his head and grimaced when he felt a bump on the back of his head.

“What you said? About how you felt?”

“My sister convinced me that I needed to talk about my feelings. I should’ve known that was a stupid idea, especially when it’s obvious it’s not reciprocated and it makes thing awkward.”

Cougar shrugged and asked, “Who said it was not reciprocated?”

Jensen looked around the room, wondering if this was some weird prank, except Cougar wasn’t the malicious type. Jensen wondered if he had hit his head harder than he thought.  Cougar laughed and Jensen realized that he must have said that last part out loud. The look in Cougar’s eyes was different and Jake wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. Jensen swallowed thickly and questioned, “Cougs?”

Cougar place his hand on the side of Jensen’s neck and inched closer to him, his forehead resting against Jake’s temple. Cougar’s thumb traced along Jensen’s throat and Jensen tried to remember how to breathe with Cougar so close to him. The words wouldn’t come out no matter how much Jensen tried to put them together into a coherent thought. He wasn’t sure he could make sense of the emotions bubbling up in his chest or acknowledge the hope blooming in his belly at the closeness between them. The only thing Jensen was sure of was that if this was a dream, he wanted to stay asleep.

“I really am fine, Cougar. Not the first or last time I’ve been beat up. You don’t need to feel bad and you don’t owe me anything,” Jensen finally managed when he couldn’t handle the quiet or the gentle touches. He tried to create some distance between the two of them before he did something he regretted. He said, “I’m sorry about last night. I was a dick and you didn’t deserve that.”

“Jake,” Cougar replied, a fond smile on his face as he shook his head. Cougar leaned forward into Jensen until Jensen’s arms betrayed him and he gripped Cougar in a tight hug, pressing his nose into Cougar’s hair.

Jensen cleared his throat, but his voice was still rough when he responded, “Not sure what’s going on.”

Cougar’s fingers grabbed ahold of Jensen’s chin and he looked pointedly at Jensen, like it was obvious. Except Jensen had spent so long wishing for something like this and he rarely got what he really wanted. He had no idea what to do. Jensen stared at him and offered a small smile. He managed, “You know I’m slow on the uptake, Cougs, and this is too important for me to try to guess.”

Idiota,” Cougar responded with a roll of his eyes before he leaned in and kissed Jensen.

It took Jensen’s brain a few seconds to realize he was kissing Cougar and he allowed his hands to roam over the broad expanse of Cougar’s back, up to the nape of his neck as Jensen's fingers tangled in Cougar’s hair, pressing him closer. Jensen tugged on him gently until Cougar was practically in his lap and all Jensen could taste was coffee and that generic toothpaste Cougar used and he felt complete in a way he hadn’t expected.

When the kiss ended, Jensen rested his cheek on Cougar’s shoulder for a moment before collapsing back against the pillows.  He stared at Cougar, still not completely sure of what was happening.  He had wanted this for so long and it was so much better than he had ever imagined, but things like this didn't happen to Jensen.  He ran a hand over his face and admitted, “I didn’t expect that.”

Te amo, Jake.”

“You sure?”

Cougar gave him one of his patented Jensen-is-slow looks, but instead of cuffing him on the back of the head like he used to do, he pressed quick kisses along Jensen’s throat and jaw. Jensen placed his hands on Cougar's chest and pushed him back.  He fixed his gaze on Cougar and said, “I mean it, Cougs. What about that guy?”

“What guy?”

“At the bar last night? You two seemed pretty close-“

“-Jake-“

“-and you don’t owe me any explanations or anything, but I need to be sure because-“

“-he wasn’t-“

“-let’s be honest, he seems much more like a match for you than I do and I know-“

Cougar covered Jensen’s mouth with his hand and raised an eyebrow. Jensen sighed and quieted down. Cougar smiled and he cupped Jensen’s face in his hands, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of Jensen’s mouth. He smiled and said, “He's someone I used to know."

"You sure?"

"I just want you. I have for a long time.”

“A long time?”

.”

“What exactly constitutes a long time?”

His hands slipped down to Jensen’s shoulders and he said, “Jensen.”

“And that guy?”

“He doesn’t matter,” Cougar replied before covering Jensen’s lips with his own. This kiss was much more thorough and Jensen could feel Cougar trembling against him as he deepened the kiss. Jensen hummed happily as Cougar wiped a thumb across Jensen’s lips and said, “You’re mine.”

“Always have been, Cougs,” Jensen admitted.

Cougar kissed his shoulder and said, “And I’m yours for as long as you want.”

“Forever,” Jensen stated. He met Cougar’s gaze, almost challenging him to argue the point, but Cougar intertwined their fingers and lifted their hands to his mouth. Jensen smiled and said, “Forever and then some because I’m a greedy bastard and I love you.”

Cougar smiled at him. “Okay.”

“Still not sure I’m not dreaming or hallucinating because of a concussion,” Jensen replied.

Cougar pinched him in the side and Jensen gritted his teeth. He glared at Cougar and asked, “Was that really necessary?”

“Not asleep,” he answered with a shrug.

Jensen was suddenly very aware of the pain that was still pulsing through his entire body after last night’s encounter. He rubbed his temples and said, “While I very much like the kissing and where the kissing might take us, there’s a good chance I’m going to throw up.”

Cougar sighed as he shifted and maneuvered himself around on the bed.  Jensen was about to point out it would be easier to stand up and move when bony arms hit him first on his stomach and then his side.  Jensen grimaced, but stopped short of bitching at Cougar because Cougar was suddenly there again, pressed up against him.  Cougar's arms wrapped around Jensen, removing the little distance between him.  One hand began raking through Jensen's hair while the other brushed along his arm.  Jensen rested his head on Cougar's shoulder, soaking in the feeling of home and safety, and grabbed Cougar's hand, intertwining their fingers together and rubbing his thumb over the top of Cougar's hand. 

After a few moments of quiet, Cougar asked, “You sure you're okay?  You need a hospital?”

“No. Just sleep and you,” Jensen replied. Cougar chuckled, the warmth of it causing a flutter of happiness in Jensen’s gut. He added, “I really do love you, Cougar. So much.”

"Te amo, también,” Cougar whispered, placing kisses into Jensen’s hair.

Jensen shut his eyes and said, “That will never get old.”

Cougar shook his head and said, “Rest, Amor.”  

“Remind me to send my sister a fruit basket or something..." Jensen muttered sleepily.  "...she and Doctor Phil are pretty smart." He settled more comfortably against Cougar and allowed the sound of Cougar’s breathing and the rise and fall of his chest lull him to sleep. Jensen knew there would be plenty more shit nights in his future, but none of that seemed too bad if he got to face it with Cougar by his side.  Jensen couldn't think of a better gift from the universe.

 {Fin}