“Thank you, everyone! Goodnight!” Jensen calls out to the crowd, his lips brushing the mic as he waves, his guitar pick still pinched tight between his fingers. The lights in his face are bright but he’s plenty used to them, so he doesn’t squint as he hams it up, letting his guitar hang across his middle by its strap so he can bring both hands to his mouth and blow kisses to the people clapping right in front of the stage. There’s always the group of regulars in the crowd, on their feet beside their tables, but it’s Friday night so the bar is packed and the energy is great. They all cheer as Jensen winks and waves one last time, starting to quiet as he threads the pick into the strings and slides his guitar off to set it in its stand. The lights aimed at the stage dim and the bar’s DJ starts up with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Crossfire as Jensen, Chris, Steve, and Aldis make their way backstage.
“Helluva show, boys!” Jeff, their manager and Jensen’s long-time mentor, claps them each on the back as they make it down the steps. Jensen is the last one and Jeff keeps his fingers pressing hard into Jensen’s shoulder as he falls into step beside him. “You really killed it out there tonight, Jen.”
“Thanks, Jeff.” Jensen beams at him as he lifts the hem of his tight black t-shirt up and leans down to wipe the sweat off his face. “It felt good.”
“Glad to hear it, kid.” Jeff beams right back. Chris, Steve, and Aldis nod at them as they shoulder past to get out to the front for some drinks at the bar, and Jeff waves then puts his focus back on Jensen. “I need a smoke. Step out with me?”
“Sure. I could use the air,” Jensen agrees and follows Jeff out the exit to the alley behind the bar. The night is cool but Jensen is on fire after being on stage and he welcomes the chill. Jeff lights up and takes a long drag of his cigarette. Jensen tries not to stand too close or breathe too deeply – it’s all still just a little too tempting.
“So what’s on your mind, old man?” Jensen prods, one eyebrow raised ever so slightly in question. Jeff blinks at him in mock surprise and brings a hand to his chest as if to say, who me? and finally chuckles when Jensen only stares him down. “I know you, Jeff. I know that look in your eyes when you got something you wanna say.”
“There’s no hiding anything from you, Jensen. You’re just too keen,” Jeff jokes, tapping his temple and then pointing at Jensen with focused, narrow eyes. “I didn’t want to say it in front of the guys yet ‘cause it ain’t a sure thing, but thought I’d get a feel from you before the wheels get set in motion. How’d you like to take The Wayward Heart Band on the road this summer, after you boys are done with your exams?”
Jensen stares at him blankly a moment before what he’s asking really sinks in. “You– you don’t mean– you want us to go on tour? With a bus and everything?”
“With a bus and everything.” Jeff grins, tapping his cigarette to shake loose the ash. “It’s not set yet, but if you think the guys are up for it, I’ve been in touch with an old contact from my own touring days and it’s lookin’ real good, kid, real good.”
“Hell yeah we’re up for it, Jeff! Holy shit, that would be amazing.” Jensen is a little lightheaded at the idea, breathless and deliriously happy. He’s been playing with Chris since they were chasing each other around the preschool playground; they picked up Steve in high school, and Aldis was the best thing they never expected when he answered an ad they put out around campus when their drummer dropped out halfway through first semester freshman year. They’ve been playing together ever since, and Jeff – who once upon a time taught Jensen how to play guitar and has done his fair share of touring the country – has been getting them local shows while they’ve been working through their degrees at UT Austin. If they could go on the road this summer, it would be a dream.
Jeff drops the butt of his cigarette and stomps it out on the pavement, smiling at Jensen like he knows exactly how happy this news has made him, and he wraps his arm around Jensen’s shoulders in a half hug. “You guys deserve it, really. You’ve been playing hard and it shows. Glad you’re psyched, kid. I’ll get on it.”
Jeff pulls Jensen’s head in and kisses the top of it, then gives his hair a good ruffling as he steps back.
“Thanks, Jeff. So much,” Jensen says seriously, looking up at Jeff as he goes up the couple steps towards the door back inside.
“Don’t thank me yet, I gotta get it all settled. You comin’ in?”
“Nah, I’m gonna take a minute out here. You go ahead.”
“Alright, Jen. See you inside. I’ll buy you a drink.” Jeff winks and Jensen waves as the door closes behind him.
A real tour. Jensen sighs and leans back against the black-painted brick in the space between the door and the dumpster. The sky is crystal clear above him, black and dotted faintly with stars that are few and far between because of the Austin city lights. They play here at The Hickory Stump – an old-school classic rock bar where Jeff used to play, back in the day – every Friday and Saturday throughout the school year. It’s a fun gig and people around town know them now, which is definitely awesome. It doesn’t pay so bad either, but it’s hardly equivalent to something full-time. A tour over the summer would be incredible, definitely something to cross off the bucket list and an ideal way to put some cash together. He can’t wait to tell the rest of the guys.
He stands back up and rubs his hands over his arms, his skin prickled up now that he’s properly cooled down after the show, and just as he turns to head back up the steps he hears a tiny noise. He stops and listens, the din of traffic and people walking on the street muffled from this side of the building, and then he hears it again. It’s a tiny little mewl, and then another, and then there’s a whole chorus of them and Jensen can’t help but follow the pitiful sounds. He rounds the far side of the dumpster and there on the ground between it and the big bin for cardboard is a ratty box filled with kittens. There are five of them, all different colours, and they’re pretty tiny. Jensen doesn’t know much about cats but these ones have got to be pretty young.
“Oh, shit…” he mutters under his breath, and as he crouches down to get close to the box they make even more noise. It’s not really loud so much as desperate, and they trip over each other to try and stand against the wall of the box to get close to him, barely getting their paws to catch the top edge. Jensen is not a cat person – at least, he doesn’t think he is; he’s never really had pets before – but even he has to admit the sad looking things are kind of cute. He sighs and extends a finger into the box, only to have the little grey one go up on its uncoordinated back legs to rubs its head against him. While he absentmindedly pets and scratches at whichever tiny creature makes its way under his hand, he glances around the alley for any sign of anyone, or a mama cat, even though he has a sneaking suspicion that these little guys were abandoned here on purpose. People can be such dicks.
He keeps one hand in the box where it gets softly mauled by the kittens. With the other, he digs his phone out of his back pocket and types animal shelter Austin into Google.
It’s official: his bandmates are unhelpful, useless assholes. Jensen cannot believe this is his life right now. It’s just after one in the morning and he’s walking up the steps to his apartment with a box full of kittens, because his friends are no help whatsoever. Jeff had been sympathetic but he’s got three giant dogs at home, so even Jensen could see how that wouldn’t be a great mix. Steve and Chris played the same card, since they’ve got a dog at their place, too. Aldis is apparently allergic – Jensen isn’t so sure he buys that – and also claims that his roommate Gabe is likely to be high as a kite when he gets home and that’s “hardly a safe environment for a bunch of kittens, man.”
Jensen lamented at length about what he’s supposed to do with five kittens until the shelters open the next morning and Jeff had pointed out that Danneel, Jensen’s roommate, would probably be really helpful. And Jensen doesn’t doubt it, but that’s also his problem. Danneel is going to try and dig her manicured claws into these furballs and Jensen is absolutely not keeping any of them. It won’t matter how much she begs, bribes, or blackmails him; his mind is made up.
He stares at his apartment door a long moment before going inside. It is after one in the morning, after all. Maybe she’ll be asleep and Jensen can sneak out with them before she wakes up and she’ll never be the wiser. That’s completely plausible. Pffft, yeah right. He sighs, cradles the squirming box between his arm and his body, and lets himself in.
To his utter lack of surprise, Danneel is sitting on their couch with her laptop on the cushion next to her and all her nursing textbooks spread out on their coffee table. She’s got a glass of red wine in hand, there’s country music playing softly in the background, and the second her eyes find Jensen, the tattered box, and she hears evidence of its contents squeaking away, she puts the glass down and jumps up.
“Ohmygod, Jen,” she gets out in a rush as she makes her way towards him.
“Danni, do not get excited. Or attached. No cuddling and no names, you got it? They were abandoned behind the bar and I’m taking them to a shelter first thing in morning.” Jensen sounds exasperated because he is. He’s also tired. It’s late, he had class all day, and all he wants is to take a shower and go to sleep.
“Jensen,” Danneel practically squeals, following him as close as she can get, crowding his space and leaning over his arms to look in the box while he walks past her to the table and, nudging her books aside, puts the box down. Five sleepy, blinking sets of eyes look up at him from inside and Jensen huffs.
“You have got to be the only person alive who can look that grumpy when faced with a box of kitties,” Danneel continues, sitting down on the couch in front of the box and immediately reaching into the box to pull one of them out.
“Danni–” Jensen stops himself because it’s already too late; the tiny, fluffy white creature is already pressed to her chest, rubbing its stupid, cute face against her and purring.
“Jen, just look,” Danneel whispers while petting its head with one finger. Jensen sighs and rolls his eyes, flopping back against the couch with an emphatic whump. He throws an arm across his eyes to make his world dark a moment and let himself pretend this isn’t happening.
“Don’t you dare fucking name them. We are not keeping them. It’s not up for discussion.”
There’s a brief pause and then, “not even one?”
“Danni!” Jensen barks, his blood boiling.
“Ugh, okay, fine. Christ, you can be such a killjoy, Ackles. Remind me why I keep you around? Especially when I could replace you with kittens. They’d be much less grouchy and infinitely more cuddly.”
Jensen lifts his arm off his eyes at that, since Danneel sounds resigned and also pouty. He sighs again, watching the kitten she’s snuggling look just about as pleased as she is. He shimmies closer and then gets an arm around her shoulders and pulls her back to settle in at his side, her head on his shoulder even as she keeps cuddling the cat.
“They wouldn’t exactly help you with the rent, you know,” Jensen mumbles, and he can feel Danneel grin against him. She tilts her head up to look at him.
“Oh, well, that’s definitely true. Is that the only reason we’re shacked up together?”
She’s teasing him now and it’s familiar and welcome after the disruption that is currently tumbling around inside a box on his living room table, meowing incessantly.
“Well, there’s also my ridiculously pretty face and that time in kindergarten when you asked me to marry you, so…”
“Oh, shut up,” she laughs and elbows him in the ribs for good measure, just to get him laughing, too.
The kittens in the box are still making lots of noise and Jensen groans. “What are we even supposed to do with them?”
Danneel sits back to look at him in earnest. “They’re probably hungry, Jen. Did you get them food?”
“Danni, it’s one in the fucking morning!”
“Alright! Jeez.” She rolls her eyes and starts to get up. “Well, we’ve got milk anyway. Let’s try that. And you’re probably gonna want to put a garbage bag under that box or something. I don’t know, but they’re probably going to make a mess in there before the night is done.”
Jensen groans as Danneel disappears in the kitchen, the white kitten still hitching a ride cradled against her chest, and Jensen digs his phone out to start looking up the best way to minimize the mess. He’s got a growing suspicion that he’s not going to get to sleep any time soon.
“Quit looking like that, Ackles,” Danni says pointedly as she sips her coffee from the passenger seat of Jensen’s car.
“Like what?” He shoots back, eyes on the road as he takes a big gulp of his Americano, too.
“Scowley. You’re scowling. But you’re the one who insisted that ‘no, they aren’t staying longer than they need to’ and ‘of course we’re taking them the second the shelter opens’. So lock it up. If anyone gets to pout, it’s me, because you’re not letting me keep even one.”
Jensen answers her with silence, not looking back at her, doing his best to ignore the chorus of tiny meows coming from the box in his back seat. They were up until an ungodly hour making sure the little furballs drank some milk, which was doubly annoying for the mess and Danneel’s near-constant cooing and fussing over them. And it’s true, Jensen supposes while grumbling to himself behind his coffee cup, that he really didn’t have to get up this early to get rid of them, but he could already see the danger: there is an unmasked fondness in his best friend’s eyes, and every extra second he lets her spend in the aforementioned kittens’ company is a risk he’s not willing to take.
So, despite the fact that it’s much too early in the morning on a Saturday especially considering how much sleep he was robbed of last night, Jensen is up – albeit disgruntled and looking like he needs twice the usual amount of espresso to get going – and driving to the Austin Animal Shelter with Danneel and the orphaned kittens in tow.
Once they’ve arrived, Jensen briefly considers trying to juggle the box of tiny cats with his coffee, but – lamenting – he opts to leave it in the car and consoles himself that he’ll be back quickly and then can go home and crawl right back into bed. Danneel is walking especially close so she can peer sadly into the box and add her own sad sounds to the ones the animals are making, but Jensen is not deterred. He is ready for this upset to be over. Danneel holds open the first of the two glass doors leading into the humble looking building since Jensen has his hands full, and as he steps across the threshold Jensen comes to a complete stop, stunned. He can see through the next glass door right to the front desk, and the guy standing behind it typing away on the computer is easily the hottest thing Jensen has seen in recent memory.
He’s obviously taller than Jensen, which that alone is intriguing but he’s clearly fit, too. He’s got these broad shoulders and the short sleeves of his frankly outrageous scrubs – seriously, they’re kind of a bright teal covered in cartoon dogs and cats – do nothing to hide the muscle in his arms or his tanned, warm-looking skin. He’s got this messy mop of light brown hair that he absentmindedly tucks behind his ear to keep out of his eyes, which are focused on his screen. There’s a couple thin, leather bracelets around his one wrist and his teeth are digging into his bottom lip while he works, making it a pretty, bright pink even from here. The guy is giant, and beautiful, and Jensen stands their nearly gaping at him as his mouth goes dry and heat pools low in his fluttering stomach.
“Holy shit,” he exhales, blinking, a little in a daze. He feels Danneel step around him, brushing his arm.
“What? Holy shit,” she echoes, clearly having laid eyes on the guy now, too. Jensen immediately snaps out of it and turns to look at her. She’s wearing a look he’s seen before, a sly, large grin spreading across her face, her eyes bright and wide. He knows what she’s thinking and Jensen is instantly put out. Statistically, the odds are in her favour – which is never fair, goddammit – and she can be ruthless when she flirts. More than once Jensen has watched her in action with frank admiration and the implicit understanding that if he swung that way even a little bit, he wouldn’t stand a chance, either. Meanwhile, Jensen is standing here looking exactly like he feels: tired, grumpy, and like he just rolled out of bed. It’s not like he was expecting to want to impress anyone at the freakin’ animal shelter, dammit! He didn’t even bother to change out of the t-shirt he slept in – an old Skynyrd tour shirt – and he just pulled on some grey sweatpants before stepping into the closest pair of flip flops by the door. He can feel himself get pink in the cheeks, dreading walking in there like this, and just as he’s about to beg Danni to keep it in her pants – for his sake – she steps forward and opens the door, forcing Jensen to quickly shut his mouth and follow behind her.
A gentle chime rings when the door opens and Handsome behind the desk looks up at the sound, a smile to rival the sunrise blooming across his face.
“Good morning!” he says cheerfully, and Jensen’s stomach swoops as he waves one of his giant paws at them.
“Hey,” Danneel starts, and Jensen internally withers. Even that one little word seems to be just ripe with her interest, and she doesn’t hesitate to get her forearms on the counter so she can lean over it into his space while she smiles back at him.
“What have you got there?” The guy doesn’t seem to give much thought to Danneel’s obvious attention, instead looking past her – and Jensen – to the box Jensen is holding. His grin seems to get impossibly wider as Jensen nudges Danneel in order to slide the box onto the counter.
The guy can see into the box now and he absolutely lights up, his eyes big and bright as he lowers his hand in among the meowing, clambering kittens.
“Hey, little guy.” He scoops up the white one and it looks hilariously tiny in the guy’s massive palm. For a moment it’s like he forgets Jensen and Danneel are even there, eyes only for the cats as he coos and brings the thing up to his face to actually nuzzle it.
Much to his surprise, Jensen can only stare fondly at the guy’s completely open and unfiltered love of the little creature, even if watching Danneel do the same the night before made him roll his eyes. Yep, he is definitely, so very gay, and this guy is hot enough to make even fawning over cats endearing.
“Aren’t they the cutest?” Danneel joins in, grabbing another of the kittens to hold against her chest, but there’s something suggestive in the way she says ‘cutest’, especially with the way she’s looking at the guy. He does look up at them again then, bringing the kitten currently smooshed to his face down a little, and he laughs.
“Adorable,” he agrees, and Danneel beams. “So what’s the story?”
“He won’t let me keep one. I’m heartbroken,” Danneel pouts, deliberately dramatic as she looks at the guy like he’s supposed to offer consolation. There’s a brief moment where he looks like he’s about to answer and then maybe the intensity of Danneel’s look throws him off. His eyes dart to Jensen, and Jensen goes ahead and answers as if Danneel hadn’t.
“I found them behind a dumpster in an alley last night. I’m not sure if they’re okay or how old they are or anything, but we–” he discreetly gives Danneel a jab with his elbow, encouraging her to knock it off “–wanted to bring them in as soon as we could.”
“We?” The guy raises an eyebrow and the corner of his mouth quirks up, too, one dimple making an appearance.
“Okay, I,” Jensen admits, but he smiles despite himself. The guy smiles back quietly while he inspects the kittens, replacing the one he was smooshing back in the box with the others. He keeps glancing up at Jensen, and Jensen can’t help but watch him intently, the way his long fingers gently wrap around and lift the tiny creatures, the way his hair keeps falling loose into his face.
“Well, they’re going to need real check-ups, for sure,” Jared explains. “Deworming and all that routine kitten stuff. But they don’t look too worse for wear, considering. Where did you say you found them?”
“He found them after his show last night. Jensen is in a band. He plays downtown–” Danneel goes ahead and answers, and Jensen can see immediately that she’s switched tactics here. He hurries to interrupt her before she starts talking about what sign he is and saying he likes long walks on the beach. He tries to ignore the way his cheeks start to warm when he realizes the guy’s eyes have gone wide and his eyebrows have gone up in a look that suggests he’s possibly impressed.
“Yeah they were in an alley, beside a dumpster. I was just taking a breather when I heard them. There was no one around, and they looked so pathetic… I figured it wouldn’t be right to just leave them there.” He shrugs and gives Danneel another nudge, this time more forcefully, with his foot. She only grins at him more deliberately in return.
“And I assume–” the guy nods toward Danneel “–that you’re just dropping them off?”
Jensen blinks at him, suddenly not sure if that’s a thing people do. He’d said they need routine stuff – who looks after that? “Well, yes? Is that– okay? I mean, they weren’t mine to begin with, I just– didn’t want to leave them there–”
The guy is laughing a little when he cuts Jensen off, one of those big hands waving in front of him.
“Yeah, it’s fine. The shelter is not for profit but we can handle basic procedures like this. That’s what I’m here for anyway. Vet student,” he says by way of explanation, shrugging it off a little as he puts down the last kitten and starts to reach for the box. “You guys are good to go.”
“That’s it?” Jensen says before he can stop himself. He didn’t know what he expected but he assumed there would be more to it, not to mention he’s certainly more disappointed than he anticipated being and it has nothing to do with ditching the cats. Danneel lets out a short snort-laugh that Jensen recognizes all too well as her not-so-subtle laughing because she can see straight through him.
“That’s it,” the guy answers, and Jensen might be imagining it but he could swear there’s a sad lilt to his pretty smile.
“Well…” Danneel leans forward expectantly, clearly addressing the guy and after a moment he realizes what she’s after.
“Uh, it’s– I’m Jared,” he offers quickly.
“Well, Jared,” Danneel carries on and Jensen grips her elbow tightly, trying to discourage whatever train she’s about to derail. “I’m Danneel, and this is my gay best friend Jensen, and you should definitely come out to his show tonight. You know, if your studies don’t keep you in on a Saturday night, and wouldn’t that just be a shame.”
Jensen’s face is on fire and his nails are definitely making marks in Danneel’s arm but she is unaffected as she smiles brightly and stares down Jared, whose own cheeks and ears have gone a distinct shade of pink, too.
“Um, well, heh,”Jared stutters a little before exhaling and ducking his head, a hand coming up to nervously push through his hair. “Where–”
“The Hickory Stump,” Danneel jumps in triumphantly. “It’s a bar so it’s open whenever but the show starts at 10:30. Bring a friend or two if you like. It’s a good time, promise.” She winks and turns, twisting Jensen, too, where he’s loosely still clinging to her elbow, and she starts to walk him away from the counter. “See you tonight, Jared!”
Jensen is mostly mortified and stunned, but at Jared’s mumbled “see ya!” he manages to turn his head to see Jared looking equally shaken as he dumbly waves after them from behind his desk and the abandoned box of kittens.
As soon as the second glass door shuts behind them, Danneel lets Jensen go and skips happily towards the car. “You’re welcome!”
“What the actual fuck, Danni?” Jensen barks after her, much less cheery.
“Don’t be so ungrateful, Jensen. You’re clearly into him – seriously, you’d have to be dead not to be – and I was falling flat. I got you a date, so I reiterate, you’re welcome.”
She wags her eyebrows at him as she stands at her door with her hand on the handle, waiting for him to unlock it. He stares at her a moment, wanting to be angry because she’s so goddamn interfering, but struggling with the delighted, definitely hopeful thrill thrumming in his veins. Her look is easily one waiting for a thank you too, but even as his anger loses out to the exciting possibility that he might actually have a date, he refuses to give her that much. He rolls his eyes – an admission he knows she’ll understand – and unlocks the doors.
“Just– get in the car,” he grumbles, and she throws open the door in unmasked delight.
Jensen is so deep in his own thoughts, tossing shirt after discarded shirt onto his bed, that he has no idea how long Danneel has been creeping in his doorway when she eventually speaks and startles him nearly out of his skin.
“Jesus Christ, Danni!” he gasps, jumping and clutching the currently debated piece of wardrobe to his chest. He sighs as the spike of adrenaline fades away and Danneel walks into his room with her hands and eyebrows up, apologetic and questioning. He turns away from her in favour of his open closet when she narrows her eyes at the mess covering his sheets.
“Jensen, are you… nervous??” she asks incredulously. Jensen just huffs and ignores her, doing up the buttons on his shirt and watching himself in the mirror. He only gets halfway up his chest before he groans and starts undoing them again, takes the shirt off, and drops it on the floor. “You are! You– you really like this cat guy!”
Danneel sounds some annoying mix of surprised and impressed and Jensen grumbles under his breath.
“What was that?”
“His name is Jared,” Jensen still mumbles, but louder, and he knows she’s heard him by the long, low whistle she lets out. Jensen sighs for the umpteeth time since he started trying to figure out what to wear and thunks his forehead on the wall beside his closet.
“Oh, hunnie,” Danneel soothes, and her hand finds his shoulder now, but Jensen is strung tight and he can’t tell which it is but he’s not sure what would irritate him more: that Danni’s being sincere or that she’s making fun of him. He shakes his shoulder roughly to knock her hand loose and turns abruptly to sit on his bed and put his head in his hands.
“Don’t ‘oh, hunnie’ me, Danni. Just– leave me alone, okay?” He keeps his face resting in his palms. Maybe if he doesn’t look at her long enough she’ll just go away. Instead, she sighs, and Jensen can hear her moving around but she’s by no means leaving his room. There’s the sliding of hangers and then two soft plops as she tosses some things onto his bed next to him.
“Jensen Ross Ackles.” Danneel’s voice is soft but commanding. He groans and tilts his head up, peeking at her through his spread fingers. She’s standing between him and his closet, one hand on her hip and the other reaching for his. She pulls his fingers off his face, and he knows better than to fight her, so he lets his hands drop into his lap. She smiles at him encouragingly. “You are going to untwist your panties, put on what I’ve laid out for you, and pull yourself together. He is just a guy–” Jensen opens his mouth to argue and Danneel sharply cuts him off, a finger pressed to his lips “–he is, even if he is gorgeous, seven feet tall, and probably hung like a horse–”
“Danni!” Jensen wails and throws himself back on the bed, an arm thrown across his face. She bursts out laughing and quickly climbs onto the bed with him, wiggling in against his side and leaning over him a little to peel his arm back.
“I’m– I’m sorry, Jen, I couldn’t resist. But seriously, he’s nice and he’s coming to see you.” Danneel smiles down at him gently and Jensen just glares back.
“Really? Are you sure? Because you’re the one who asked him, and we don’t know that he– I mean, look at you! You don’t know that, Danni. You don’t.”
Danneel holds his gaze another beat before her expression settles into one he’s seen possibly more than any other, the one that says Jensen, you are a hopeless idiot. He rolls his eyes and pushes past her to sit up and get off the bed, turning to check what she wants him to wear.
“Are you sure? Because I do know, Jen. He was super uncomfortable with me – definitely not interested. He could barely take his eyes off you. C’mon, stop doing this to yourself. Just relax. He’s going to be there, you’re going to look amazing, the show will be great, and if things are looking good for you, I’ll… lay low at Chris and Steve’s place tonight.”
Jensen’s face heats up instantly at that but he can’t deny the jittery swoop of his stomach or the interested, hopeful twitch of his dick, so instead of arguing he just bites his lip and ignores the triumphant grin on Danneel’s face by reaching for his shirt.
It’s a charcoal grey tee with subtle, contrasting white stitching and a kind of artsy, smoky skull on the front. He’d forgotten he had it. Danneel had also laid out his light, butter-soft black leather jacket. He’s already wearing his best, snug boot-cut jeans and his usual assortment of leather and beaded bracelets, and his cherry red Doc Martens are waiting for him by the door. As he pulls the t-shirt on over his head he has to admit Danneel knows what she’s doing – they aren’t bad choices. And he is being ridiculous, he knows he is, but that doesn’t make it easier to put to rest all the butterflies in his stomach. Ugh, butterflies. What is he – fifteen? He rolls his eyes at himself and pulls on the leather jacket, standing in front of the mirror to silently admit to himself that yes, this will do.
“Lookin’ mighty fine, Ackles. He doesn’t stand a chance.” She stands up and crowds the space behind him, standing up on her tiptoes to get her chin over his shoulder and wink at him in the mirror. He tries not to let it show because it’s going to go to her head, but he does feel a bit better, so he can’t help it when he smiles a little back at her.
“Yeah, well, we’ll see.” He tries to play it down, biting his lip to control his mouth, but Danneel only grins all the wider and, when she steps back, she gives him a solid smack on the ass.
“We certainly will! Now let’s go get him!”
“Are you sure this isn’t too close to the front? I don’t look… desperate?” Jared asks for what is probably the third time too many, based off the exasperated, level stare he gets from his best friend in return.
“Jared, please. Just relax, okay? It’s not like we’re pressed up against the stage so you can grab at his ankles. We’re sitting down, for chrissakes!” Gen throws the arm not holding her beer up to punctuate her frustration as she shimmies back in the barstool. They’d already argued about how Jared was absolutely not going to be dancing, even if it is that kind of show, though he honestly doesn’t know what to expect. Gen had insisted that hiding at the back of the bar wasn’t going to get him anywhere with this guy, so they compromised: Jared isn’t front and centre on the dance floor, but they’re sitting at a table Gen managed to snag that was still close but just off to the side.
“Jared, stop it already,” she sighs and swats at his hand, which was compulsively tucking his hair behind his ears.
“Sorry,” he mumbles, and takes a big swing of his beer. He forces himself to keep his other arm on the table so he doesn’t put his hand back in his hair, and Gen reaches across the little table to squeeze his wrist.
“You’re really interested in this guy, huh?” she asks, but it’s not really a question. She’s known him since high school, and subtlety has never been his strong suit.
Jared’s about to turn to her and give her a look, but then the lights in the bar dim and the classic rock playing over the speakers fades out. The lights go up on the stage to reveal the band, and both Jared and Gen twist in their seats to face the stage. Then, there he is, standing front and centre with a shiny black Gibson Les Paul slung across his middle. Jared is vaguely aware of other people on stage, too, but his eyes go wide and his mouth opens a little as he blatantly stares at Jensen. Earlier this morning, he was soft and a little tired looking, worn out by kittens and not enough sleep, but he was still the most beautiful guy Jared had ever seen. Now though, Jensen looks– well, he– god, Jared doesn’t even have the words.
He’s wearing a black leather jacket over a t-shirt with a skull on the front, the sleeves pushed up on his forearms, exposing golden, lightly freckled skin on one arm and elegantly inked skulls that disappear under the scrunched up leather on the other. His hair looks meticulously styled and his face is split by this huge, genuine smile that reveals just how much he belongs in the spotlight. Jared hasn’t been able to take his eyes off Jensen since they found him, but with a start he suddenly realizes Jensen is looking right back at him. He swears Jensen’s smile gets a little wider and then when he winks, Jared can feel the dopey grin blooming on his own face as his heart flutters stupidly in his chest.
“So, that’s him then?” Gen sounds awestruck and the sound of her voice pulls Jared back down to earth a little; he was definitely starting to float away. He nods dumbly, still transfixed, and he hears a small, approving huh from his best friend that tells him she doesn’t blame him.
“Hello, everybody! Welcome to Saturday night at The Hickory Stump! We are The Wayward Heart Band and we hope you’ll enjoy our show!” Jensen speaks right into the mic, waving with his free hand, and then he turns to his bandmates as the drummer starts to count them in.
The drums and the guitar line pick up and even as Jensen stands there just strumming in front of the mic, Jared feels himself succumbing to every cliche in the books. There’s something about the motion and music and the easy joy on Jensen’s face – it’s endearing and magnetic and heady all at once. But then– then Jensen starts to sing and Jared’s jaw might as well be on the floor. Jared is transfixed. Jensen’s soft, rich voice gets a little rough, a little growly, on a particular note and Jared swears he shivers at the sound.
“Told ya it’d be a good time!” A voice yells loud at his other side to cut through the music and Jared jumps, startled at the person’s proximity and jostled from his momentary reverie. He looks down and it’s Danneel, grinning from ear to ear like she knows something he doesn’t.
“Yeah, he– Jensen can really– I mean, his voice is…” Jared isn’t sure what to say, and as he trails off, Danneel laughs and pets his arm.
“Yeah, I know. Kinda hard not to fall in love with him, right?” She winks, smirking at him while she nudges his side playfully with her elbow. Jared gets a little flustered, still in a daze, and fails to do anything beside open and close his mouth around a stutter before he gives up. He can hear Danneel chuckle to herself, and Jared looks away, back to Jensen on stage, and rubs at the back of his neck. After a moment, there’s a tug at his arm on other side.
“Uh, Jared, hello?” Gen hisses – a loud whisper to cut through the noise – while leaning across the table. “Who’s the hottie?”
“Oh, Danneel, uh, this is my best friend, Gen.” He gestures to the tiny woman next to him as she slides out of her chair, and she smiles at Danneel brightly, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “Gen, this is Danneel. We met at the shelter earlier today. She’s the one who invited me – us – to come out tonight.”
“Nice to meet you, Danneel.” Gen extends her hand and Danneel takes it to give it a shake, her eyes not-at-all-subtly giving Danneel an appreciative once-over. “Jared was so busy talking about this Jensen guy up on stage there, he failed to mention his boy had such a beautiful best friend.”
Jared groans internally, cursing Gen because she just can’t ever seem to turn it off, but when he dares look back at the girls Danneel looks incredibly pleased and maybe even more interested than she did back at the shelter when Jared was sure she was coming on to him.
“Well, it looks like the guys already have that in common,” she flirts right back, stepping past Jared to stand next to Gen. “And you can call me Danni.”
The girls grin at each other as Gen steps in a little closer to Danneel and Jared can barely resist rolling his eyes. Danneel pulls Gen away so they’re just far enough from the table to be on the edge of the crowd of people dancing, and Jared tries not to hate Gen a little bit for how easy it is for her to take Danneel’s hands and start dancing, too.
Instead, he puts his focus back on Jensen, whose eyes are on him again. Jared smiles dumbly because he can’t help it, not when he’s watching Jensen’s lips brush the mic as he sings while looking directly at him, like he could be the only one in the whole room. It does crazy things to his insides and he feels ridiculous but it gives him a little hope, too, that maybe Jensen is as excited for him to be here as he is.
Jensen feels honest to God a little high by the time the show is over. He played his heart out, definitely trying to impress Jared, whom he couldn’t keep his eyes off of all night no matter how hard he tried. And Jared – fuck he looks good out of those scrubs, wearing well-fitting jeans and a soft looking henley. Jared was watching him all night, too, and every time their eyes met over the crowd Jensen felt it echo in his bones. He swears at times he could see the way Jared wants him, and he knows if Jared was looking, he couldn’t have missed it coming back from Jensen, either.
Getting off stage, Jensen is jittery and on edge. There’s adrenaline coursing through his veins and he’s more than a little turned on from having had so much of Jared’s attention. He takes a couple deep breaths to steady himself and wipes his face on his t-shirt so he’s not fucking dripping by the time he gets out there. He’s so ready to be close to Jared, to talk to him and get to know him and hear if he enjoyed the show, but right now it’s all this perfect illusion where Jared is here for him and wants him, too. He can’t help the nagging worry that when he goes to him, the illusion will end, the connection will have only been in Jensen’s head, and he’ll just end up disappointed. His teeth work at his bottom lip while he steadies himself, and Chris looks back at him from the pulled aside curtain where he’s following Steve and Aldis to the bar.
“Jensen! You alright, man? You comin’ or what?” He raises an eyebrow at him but lets his concern show through, just in case Jensen actually isn’t okay, but Jensen pulls himself together quick.
“Yeah, Chris. I’m coming. Thanks.” He catches up in a few quick strides and passes through the curtain Chris holds open for him.
The way to the bar is slow – always is after a show – because people crowd them to clap them on the back or tell them it was a great show. Usually, it’s one of Jensen’s favourite moments, but right now he really just wants to get to Jared. He can see him as he makes his way through the throng because the guy essentially towers over everyone else, and then Jared turns and somehow finds him despite the crowd. They hold each other’s gaze while Jared smiles at him, and Jensen knows someone is talking to him but he doesn’t hear what they say. This can’t just be in his head. It can’t just be him. There’s really something here.
“Yeah, thanks for coming out,” Jensen says absentmindedly, nodding in the direction of the speaker’s voice, and he shoulders a little more aggressively ahead. They get to the bar and Chris, Steve and Aldis have hopped up on stools to order drinks, but Jensen just keeps going. He passes Aldis last, who turns to watch him go, and in the corner of his eye he sees Aldis grin knowingly when he must look ahead and spot where Jensen’s headed. Jensen would roll his eyes but he’s just relieved Aldis appears to turn around to face the bar instead of following him. The last thing he needs right now is his bandmates jumping in to tell every horrible and embarrassing story about him that they know, which is exactly what they’ve done in the past. The bastards.
He’s standing in front of Jared before he knows it, for a moment lost in his thoughts, but then there he is. Jared is so beautiful the way he’s looking at him that Jensen forgets to say anything clever at all.
“Jared, hey, you came,” he says lamely instead, a little breathless, which might be from playing a long set or could be Jared. Jensen doesn’t want to think on it too much.
“Jensen, you– holy shit. Your band is fantastic. That was an incredible show. And your voice– wow. Seriously,” Jared gushes, and they’re standing so close together his fingers brush Jensen’s, lingering. Jensen’s mouth goes dry, and he could say the proximity is so they can hear over the music playing but really, he hadn’t even noticed them moving, like they’re drawn to each other.
“Thanks,” is all Jensen can say, just a breathy wisp of a word, caught in the way Jared is looking at him. Jared’s hand is gone now but the warmth is there where he touched him and Jensen wants to reach for him. It’s a long, charged moment, but finally he remembers some words and how to string them together. “Did you come alone? Have you seen Danni?”
Jensen is startled when Jared barks out a laugh, nodding.
“Oh, I’ve seen her. And I didn’t come alone. Brought my best friend Gen with me but I don’t think we’re leaving together at this rate…” He points and Jensen follows his finger to the dance floor where there are definitely fewer people than when his band was on stage, but there’s still a crowd moving to the music. At the edge of the floor, Danni is dancing with a pretty, petite brunette with long hair and her hands on Danneel’s hips. They’re dancing like no one else is even around, talking close – Jensen is certain Danneel’s lips are on that girl’s ear – and laughing. Danneel looks absolutely in heaven.
“Huh,” Jensen laughs. “Yeah, Danni doesn’t– uh, discriminate.”
“So I gathered,” Jared laughs with him, but as they turn away from the girls and back to each other, that weighted silence comes between them again. It’s almost worse now, after seeing the easy closeness of the girls, the obvious, unspoken want for the same between them.
“Jared,” Jensen finally starts. “It’s– I could… use some air. Do you… want to step outside with me?” The question is loaded and Jensen can tell Jared knows it. Jared flushes but quickly nods, stepping that little bit closer to him, so Jensen has to tilt his head up to still look him in the eye.
“Yeah. Yeah, good idea. Lead the way, Jensen.” Jared is so close to Jensen when he says it, Jensen can feel the heat coming off him. Outside will definitely be better. Jared takes his hand without prompting and Jensen is made bold by it, lets himself lean into Jared’s body a little, his nose brushing Jared’s cheek before he makes himself step back and walk Jared back to the alley exit behind the stage.
There’s no mistaking why they’re going out back. The energy between them – this thing – is tangible and Jensen can tell Jared is feeling it, too. Jensen’s been absolutely buzzing since meeting Jared this morning, and trying to navigate the nearly overwhelming way he’s feeling while being surrounded by a bar full of people– it’s long past time to take this outside.
Jensen holds the door open for him and gestures for Jared to go ahead, which he does. The air is cool and fresh but not uncomfortable, but if Jensen has his way it won’t matter. He’s pretty sure they can keep each other warm. He follows Jared out and they’re both quiet as they make their way down the couple steps to the asphalt of the alley. Jared turns toward him and he’s smiling and fuck, but Jensen’s heart needs to stop fluttering like that, Jesus. He’s so damn pretty though and there’s a pink in his cheeks, a brightness to his eyes even though the light is dim from only a shitty street lamp, the stars and moon above. Jensen smiles back at him because he couldn’t stop himself if he tried, and Jared shyly rubs a hand on the back of his neck, looking back at him from under his lashes. Jensen takes a tentative step closer, trying not to rush even though all he’s thought about all day is pressing himself up against that long, lean body in front of him, and he watches Jared’s eyes drop to Jensen’s mouth.
Jensen doesn’t let himself hesitate. He closes the distance between them, Jared’s eyes on him the whole while as he stops close enough to feel the heat radiating off him. Jensen has to look up at him and it’s fucking thrilling; his hands are unsteady as they reach for the front of Jared’s shirt but as he tilts his chin up to press their lips together, Jensen feels like he’s being cracked open, something loosening in his chest and spreading out hotly all over his body. He feels almost small as Jared’s hands find his face, those long fingers edging into his hair and cupping his chin. Jared’s mouth is soft against his and when Jared starts kissing him back, teasing the seam of his lips with the tip of his tongue, Jensen just melts. He may even whimper but he’s not about to admit that, instead just opening up for Jared as he starts to ease his way inside Jensen’s mouth. Jensen’s legs may as well be Jell-O at this point but it doesn’t matter. Jared moves one of those giant hands down to grip firmly at Jensen’s waist while he steps forward, pressing his body flush with Jensen’s and effortlessly walking him back the few steps until Jensen’s back connects with the brick wall of The Hickory Stump. Jensen gasps, pleased but surprised, and Jared takes advantage of the break to graze his teeth along Jensen’s lip, then start kissing along his jaw.
Jensen is pinned, his arms between their bodies and his back to the wall, and when he shivers it has nothing to do with the cold. He can’t hold back a moan when Jared latches onto the hinge of his jaw, just below his ear, and starts to suck. He wiggles his arms out so he can hold on desperately to Jared, pulling him closer even as Jared presses his thigh between Jensen’s legs. Jensen gasps again, shuddering, as the solid weight of him rubs against Jensen’s dick, hard where it’s trapped by his jeans, and Jared pulls back just enough to grin at him.
“God, if you could see yourself. You’re so beautiful. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you all day,” he admits, breathless, and the thumb of his hand still on Jensen’s face rubs gently at his cheek, moves down to tease at the corner of his mouth. Jensen huffs out a laugh.
“Says you,” he answers, equally out of breath. He can’t stop himself from leaning into Jared’s hand, canting his hips to get a little more friction, and tugging where his hands are fisted in Jared’s shirt. Jared honestly just beams at him a moment before shaking his head a little and diving down to capture Jensen’s mouth again. He kisses like a goddamn beast – deep and dirty and perfect – and Jensen is thrilled that the maybe shy, cartoon-clad boy from this morning is actually every bit as capable of manhandling him as that beautiful body of his suggests he is. Jared starts to rolls his hips against Jensen’s where he still presses him to the wall, and Jensen is definitely, unabashedly whimpering now as he sucks on Jared’s tongue.
Jared pulls back to catch his breath and they’re both panting, lost in the space that is just them, where Jensen is small and blanketed by Jared’s body, so the noise startles Jensen enough that he jumps. Jared still has his arm around Jensen’s waist but he lets go of Jensen’s face and turns around, both of them looking in the direction of the sound. They both listen a moment and it’s silent, the din of the street on the far side of the building muffled and feeling distant, when there’s another noise: a tiny, clear-as-a-bell meow.
“Jensen, is this where–”
“Yeah, it is,” Jensen groans, answering Jared’s question before he even finishes asking. “Fuck. I must’ve missed one?”
Jared lets him go then, backing away and following the little sounds to where the kitten must be hiding. Jensen sighs, pushing off the wall and adjusting himself a little as he watches, the sense of urgency fading as the moment is broken. It fucking figures. He’s getting cock-blocked by a goddamn kitten.
Jensen scrubs a hand down his face to help disguise his momentary agony and then he goes after Jared, hovering and watching while Jared wedges himself between the wall and the dumpster, pushing to make a little space, and then crouches and leans behind it. Jensen tries not to stare at the curve of his ass or the long leg he kicks out to keep his balance while he reaches behind the dumpster, but all of his resolve disappeared the moment Jared slammed him up against the wall.
After a long moment, Jared straightens out and emerges from behind the dumpster with a teeny, dirty, ratty looking black ball of fluff squirming in his hand.
“Aw, look at this poor little guy,” Jared coos as the tiny kitten mews pitifully and scrambles to find its footing when Jared lifts him up for Jensen to see. He has the creature cupped in one hand, and he pets its tiny head with one finger from his other hand.
It feels like an almost automatic response for Jensen to reach his own hand towards the one Jared is offering him; if he happens to brush Jared’s fingers as much as the matted black fur of the kitten he’s holding, well, Jensen doesn’t think anyone would blame him. The kitten is ridiculously soft, even covered in dirt, and Jensen’s heart breaks a little for the thing. He scratches its chin and feels his lips quirk up in a small smile despite himself, one that only grows when he looks up to see Jared watching him with a sappy grin on his face, too. Jensen sighs, resigned.
“We can’t leave it here,” Jared explains, a little pleading like Jensen doesn’t already know that and hasn’t already mentally agreed to whatever it is Jared is going to suggest.
“I know,” Jensen answers simply. They’re standing in the dimly lit alley together with barely a foot between them, Jared’s giant hand between their chests and the pathetic creature purring in the cradle of his palm. “So, what d’you want to do?”
Jensen isn’t sure either of their arguments for going back to Jensen’s place really hold up, but he’s not exactly complaining. Despite his telling Danneel that there would be no more cats in the apartment, there is a cat in his apartment, but it comes with Jared, so Jensen can’t even be mad. The view is pretty good from where he’s standing, mostly because Jared takes up most of it, and Jensen has decided that Jared looks best inside Jensen’s living space, where, frankly, he’d really like Jared to be a lot.
Jared is nice, and sweet, and super smart. He’s just finishing his first year of veterinary medicine but he’s one of only two spots in the program they give to kids fresh out of high school instead of post undergrad. Turns out his brain is as giant as the rest of him, but he’s humble and unassuming in a way that doesn’t make Jensen feel stupid by comparison. Jensen is finishing up his final year as a music major, and who knows what he’ll end up doing afterwards, though the tour this summer is as good a start as any. At the same time, Jensen – who has stayed out of relationships for a while for this very reason – has a tendency to fall hard and fast, so watching Jared fawn over the kitten in his kitchen is already giving him ideas, making him wonder what he could do to stay here in Austin. More shows, more school, more something… His stomach flutters nervously and he purses his lips a little, internally cursing himself for letting his mind wander there. He curses Danneel, too, because while he absolutely wants to get fucked, he’s not sure he’s ready to do what he always does and get his heart broken in the process.
“Hey.” Jared has the furball clasped in his hands and pressed to his chest. It’s licking milk from around its mouth and Jensen blinks as he looks at them, taking in the empty dish on the counter. “You’re not falling asleep on me, are you?”
Jared smiles softly as he says it, gently teasing, and as he walks past Jensen he nudges their shoulders together even though there’s plenty of room for him to get by. Jensen relaxes at his attention and smiles back, watching as Jared goes into the living room and makes himself at home on the couch, kitten still burrowing in his hand.
“No, not at all. I… just got a little lost in my head there, sorry.” Jensen knows it’s not much of an answer, but he’s not about to admit he was thinking about– well, what he was thinking about. So instead he crosses his arms in front of his chest and leans in the doorway. Jared and the kitten get settled and Jensen knows the longer he looks at them, the softer all his resolve and self-preservation gets, too. “How’s he doin’?”
“She, actually,” Jared corrects with a little quirk of his lips and a single dimple. “She’s definitely a bit malnourished and needs all the same deworming and treatments of her littermates, but she’ll be okay.”
“She’s in good hands.” Jensen blushes a little when he says it. He means it, really, but he also can’t stop thinking about before, when those hands were all over him, too.
Jared beams at him, pink spreading across his cheeks, too.
“You know, you can come sit with us– with me.” Jared tilts his head down when he asks, letting himself look distracted petting the kitten like he’s shy again, like this morning at the shelter, and if Jensen’s insides weren’t completely gooey already…
He huffs playfully, making a show like he’s put out, but in reality he’s got butterflies as he walks over to the couch, anxious to be close to Jared again. Inexplicably nervous despite their moment in the alley, Jensen sits close but not right up against him, only to have Jared shimmy into the tiny gap and lean on him. He rests his head on Jensen’s shoulder, sinking down on the couch a little on account of being so damn tall, and maneuvers his hand holding the kitten right between them before tilting his face to look up at Jensen with those big, bright, begging eyes. Jensen instinctively moves to pet the sleepy kitten and he knows in that moment he’s already doomed; he’s not sure there’s anything he’d say no to coming from that face and those eyes.
They sit quietly together, only the sounds of their breathing and the barely audible rumble of the kitten’s purring in the otherwise silent apartment, but it’s far from awkward. It’s comfortable and easy like it is with Danneel, and Jensen has known her the majority of his life. He’s trying to hold back – for all intents and purposes he barely knows Jared, really – but there’s something so easy to being with him, around him, that it makes it even more difficult for Jensen not to think that just maybe things could be different with Jared.
“She really should have a name, you know,” Jared pipes up softly, his voice just above a whisper like they’re sharing secrets even though they’re all alone.
“Hm,” Jensen makes a small hum and he knows it’s more in the affirmative than anything else, contemplative almost like he’s thinking about it even though he can just imagine Danneel’s outrage at even the idea. But Jared is still looking up at him with that big kid smile and he’s Jared and fuck– Jensen is so weak.
“And it’s kind of special we found her even after she got separated. Who knows what could have happened to her in those twenty four hours. I mean, what are the chances–?” Jared continues gently but eager, something bubbly and excited in his voice as he looks between the kitten and Jensen’s face. “Hey– there’s an idea!”
“What?” Jensen isn’t sure he followed but Jared’s face has lit up all the more and Jensen’s heart aches at the sight of it.
“Chance! Because it’s like she got a second chance, right? It’s perfect!”
“It kind of is,” Jensen agrees, wiggling down a little where he sits to lean more into Jared, too. “Okay, Chance it is.”
“Hey Chance,” Jared murmurs, petting her head with one finger, gently because she seems to be completely conked out. “Gonna take real good care of you.”
Jensen smiles and lets out a long breath, closes his eyes. After a moment, he feels Jared shift and he lifts his head off his while Jared moves. He leans forward carefully and eases Chance off his hand and onto the cushion of the other chair. She doesn’t seem too bothered, curling in on herself and continuing to sleep. Jared turns back and when he sees the blanket draped over the back of the couch he reaches for it and makes a little nest around her to keep her warm before finally looking at Jensen again with a shy smile.
“Well…” he starts, one hand pushing his hair behind his ears and then reaching to rub at his neck like he isn’t sure what to say next. Jensen’s stomach jumps and he can’t help but sit upright. Is Jared trying to leave? He was sure they came back here because… Jensen swallows thickly.
“Well…?” He echoes, reaching for Jared’s other hand and lacing their fingers together. Jared blushes.
“I guess as first dates go, this wasn’t terrible.” He tries to contain his smile and fails miserably, much to Jensen’s delight. Jensen barks out a laugh – partly relieved – and then leans forward and presses their lips together in a kiss. Jared gets his hand on the side of Jensen’s face again, his fingertips teasing behind Jensen’s ear, and Jensen pulls back just enough to talk against Jared’s mouth.
“It wasn’t terrible? Is it over already? You leaving me, Jared?” Jensen punctuates the question with another kiss, this time a little slower, a little deeper, and he feels himself heat up at the taste of Jared’s mouth and the way Jared’s grip gets a little more desperate. It’s Jared who pulls back this time, breathing a bit heavier.
“Do you want me to?” He holds Jensen’s gaze, those multicoloured eyes of his soft and serious even as Jensen can see what Jared wants his answer to be. It’s reassuring and unravelling for Jensen all at once. He knows Jared just means right now – tonight – but it still feels like more when Jensen answers.
“No,” he manages finally, his voice breaking a little, hopefully not giving too much of himself away.
“Oh thank God,” Jared exhales in a rush, in a race to get the words out before his mouth crashes into Jensen’s again, and then he’s kissing Jensen like he did in the alley. He takes control of the kiss so quickly Jensen all but melts into him, wanting to let him take everything. Jared moves with intent now, deliberate and fierce enough to coax a whimper out of Jensen before he has the chance to catch it. “What do you want, Jensen? Tell me, please? Wanna make you happy. Will you let me?”
He pants the words out between kisses and Jensen can’t help but arch into his touch, chase his mouth, and pull at his shirt to get him closer.
“Fuck me?” Jensen asks breathlessly, gasping as he pulls back from Jared’s mouth just enough to speak. Jared groans loudly into their kiss, pulling at Jensen with desperate hands. He starts to maneuver Jensen to lie back on the couch, trying to keep kissing him while they shift, and Jensen can’t stop grinning against his mouth, chasing his lips, because this is actually happening.
Jensen’s one leg is still draped off the couch since it’s a little narrow, but Jared pulls back to look at him, playing with the hem of Jensen’s t-shirt and smiling from where he’s kneeling between Jensen’s knees.
“You want to do it here, or…?” Jared’s fingers slip under his shirt to slide up his stomach, light and teasing, before he brings them back down and edges them under the waist of Jensen’s jeans.
Jensen pauses, considers his already sort of awkward position sprawled mostly on and somewhat off the couch. He lets his eyes trail down the long, long length of Jared’s body and figures the man has a point. “Yeah, we should probably take this to my room.”
Jared smiles slyly and withdraws his hands from where they’re hooked at the top of Jensen’s pants, but he leans forward to kiss Jensen again before moving to stand up. “You’re probably right.”
Jensen stands up and Jared moves into his space, head tilted down, and he trails his fingers down Jensen’s arm. They dance over the back of his hand, a little tentative, and Jensen catches them in his own to lace them together.
“C’mon.” Jensen leads him away from the couch out of the living room and toward the hallway to his bedroom. Jared follows right behind him, his other hand resting gently in the centre of his back. They’re just in front of Jensen’s door when he stops abruptly and turns around, so close his chest brushes Jared’s.
Jared’s eyes go wide in question but his expression is soft like he wants Jensen to know it’s okay if he wants to change his mind. Yeah, right. No way is Jensen doing that. But a thought did occur to him and loathe as he is to admit he might actually give a damn about the stupid, cock-blocking cat.
“Is– will Chance be okay?” Jensen asks with a quick glance over Jared’s shoulder past him to the living room where they left her.
Jared chuckles and leans in close, nosing in along Jensen’s cheek and pressing a quick kiss to the corner of his mouth in a move that makes Jensen jittery and warm. “She’s got a full belly and a warm blanket and she’s not behind a dumpster anymore. She’ll be fine.”
Jared’s smile is small and reassuring and Jensen feels silly but he doesn’t think Jared is laughing at him. Jared kisses him again and he stops thinking about it entirely. Jared’s hands are on Jensen’s hips and he’s slowly starting to walk Jensen backwards into his room, kissing him all the while.
They stop when the back of Jensen’s legs bump into his bed, and he feels Jared grin against his mouth before he slides his hands down around Jensen’s ass and grinds them together. Jensen jostles, losing his balance a little, gasping at the welcome friction, and wraps his arms around Jared’s neck to better steady himself. It’s then that Jared’s grip changes and the next thing he knows, Jensen is being fucking lifted up. Instinctively he clings to Jared and wraps his legs around his waist, and when he throws his head back to laugh because what the hell Jared is a beast and Jensen is on fucking fire, Jared laughs with him and dives in to kiss at his neck, his big, strong arms holding Jensen close, one across the middle of his back and the other over his ass.
Jensen is lightheaded with how ridiculously turned on he is right now and he just holds on tight while Jared keeps nipping and sucking at his throat. He folds an arm back and gets a hand in Jared’s hair, gripping tight, and he is thrilled to earn a moan from Jared for his trouble. As Jensen sits perched on Jared’s hips, the rigid heat of Jared’s definitely sizable cock pressing against his ass, he’s suddenly, painfully aware that he’s so fucking gone for this kid. And, as Jared all but tosses him onto his bed, quickly lifting his own t-shirt up over his head and looking down at Jensen with a heaving, flushed chest while Jensen catches his own breath, Jensen is also sure beyond a doubt that whatever happens between them – even if Jensen does get his heart broken – it’s going to be worth it just for this night alone.
Jensen wakes up slowly, his eyes still closed despite the awareness of consciousness. He shifts slightly, testing, and the pleasant ache in his ass gets a little sharper with the movement, making him hum happily as all the memories of last night flood his still-sleepy brain. Jared’s massive cock – Jesus, that boy is proportional alright – the perfectly rough fucking, and Jared’s stupid, adorable mouth that he couldn’t stop running with all kinds of sweet nonsense that from anyone else would’ve made Jensen roll his eyes but Jared is so fucking genuine it just doomed Jensen’s weak, romantic heart all the more. Jared is a perfect mystery to Jensen, all shy and a little flustered when they met but totally in control and just this side of rough when he’s taking what he wants, all the while making sure Jensen is getting taken care of, too, and giving him all kinds of praise for taking his big friggin’ dick like such a champ – which he did, of course, Jensen smiles to himself into his pillow a little smugly. Hands down the best lay of Jensen’s life, and he wants to believe so badly that Jared wants more from him.
Jared is plastered along his side, one leg hitched up over the back of Jensen’s thighs tucked snugly under his ass and an arm sprawled heavy across his lower back. He makes a small sound close to Jensen’s ear and then starts to move, his fingers wrapping around Jensen’s waist and his arm going tighter. He kisses at the skin of Jensen’s shoulder and hums a little, too.
“‘Morning, Jen,” he murmurs.
Despite his hold on him, Jensen wriggles and manages to turn on his side to look at Jared, both of them wearing sleepy smiles. Jared’s hair is a mess, pieces sticking every which way, and he looks so soft and young that Jensen just wants to burrow into him to feel that way, too. Instead, he kisses the tip of Jared’s nose, blushing a little because it’s a silly gesture but it felt right.
“Good morning, Jay.”
They just kind of smile at each other in silence a little while, and Jensen feels inexplicably giddy. The quiet is easy, not apprehensive, and he just feels… happy, especially because if he had to guess, Jared feels the same way, too. He certainly isn’t making any fast moves for the door, and that’s something.
“So… this is fun,” Jared says just above a whisper, and before Jensen can ask what he means, he feels Jared tug lightly at the ring in his right nipple under the covers. It makes Jensen shiver a little.
“I think so,” he laughs. He thinks about the curiosity in Jared’s eyes when he saw it last night, when he asked if it was okay to touch it, and all the ways he made Jensen crazy with it after Jensen gave him the go ahead. “Glad you do, too.”
Jared flushes at that and drops his gaze, laughing, too. It’s sweet and bashful again, and Jensen adores it. Jared lets go of the ring then and his fingers start to slide up his chest until they’re visible above the covers and they start tracing the lines of Jensen’s tattoos, the armour he has inked into the skin of his chest and shoulder, down his right arm to just above his elbow.
“These are really beautiful, too,” Jared adds, looking back at Jensen when Jensen watches him.
“Thanks.” Jensen smiles, and then he reaches for Jared’s chin and tilts it up, makes him hold his gaze. He swallows hard and takes a deep breath so he can say it, so he can address it and he can quell the nervous flutter of his stomach that wants to know what is happening between them. “Jared, last night was– it was amazing. You– you’re amazing.”
Jared’s eyes get big when he beams back at him with pink, deeply dimpled cheeks. “Yeah, Jensen, I mean… holy shit, right? You think… maybe we can see each other again?”
Jensen laughs and it sounds a little crazy even to him, but mostly because the relief is overwhelming in a great way. “I’d say so, yeah. I mean, we’re still seeing each other right now, yeah?”
Jared’s smile gets shy again as he ducks his head. He looks back up at Jensen and just as he’s about to say something, he’s interrupted by a tiny meow coming from over the edge of the bed. They both laugh and Jared leans back to drop an arm over the edge, returning with Chance, who he plops down in between them. She seems pleased by this development, and continues weakly meowing as she awkwardly walks on unsteady legs on the mattress to rub up against both of their chests.
“Guess we have to take her to the shelter, huh?” Jared asks, a quirk in his lips as he pets the top of her little head.
Jensen doesn’t answer right away, just watches the way she nuzzles into Jared’s neck, settling under his chin like she’s tucked there for safekeeping. It’s ridiculous that he’s even thinking it, and Danneel is going to have a fucking field day, but they look so adorable together and Jensen can’t help but feel like she’s somehow already theirs, that maybe they rescued her, but…
“Jensen?” Jared asks, breaking into Jensen’s thoughts with a questioning tone and raised eyebrow.
“Well, I mean… we don’t… what if…?”
“Are you serious? You want to keep her?” Jared’s face lights up like the Fourth of fucking July and Jensen knows there’s no other answer.
“Yeah– I think, maybe… can I keep you both?” He can feel his face and ears get hot immediately when the words escape his mouth, and his heart is pounding so loud in his ears he’s almost worried he won’t hear what Jared is going to say, if he says anything at all. God, what is wrong with him?
He chances a glance up at Jared after there’s a too-long beat of quiet, and Jared is looking at him with such obvious fondness and that damning smile of his, that suddenly Jensen is laughing again.
“Well, I’m pretty sure she’s half mine anyway, so I kinda think you have to.” Jared leans in to kiss him on the mouth, pressing their lips together quickly even though it displaces Chance. She mewls and squirms between them until Jared leans back to give her a little more space.
“Okay then,” Jensen says, pleased with himself and feeling pretty damn good.
“Okay,” Jared echoes, and he pets Chance again. “Guess we’ll just take her to the vet then.”
“Perfect,” Jensen agrees, and he kisses Jared again just because. They settle in together, clearly neither of them in any hurry to get up, and Chance curls up in the small space between them, purring under the attention from their hands. Two nights ago, Jensen was boyfriendless and petless. Then he found a box of abandoned kittens in a back alley. Now, he has both a boyfriend and a pet. Finding those kittens has gone from being a pain in his ass to a really happy accident. Jensen cannot believe his luck. He can’t believe that this happened at all, that he met Jared, and that maybe, just maybe, Jared wants the things – the future – Jensen wants, too.