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The Lone Star Showdown

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Jared's been the lead in every school play since grammar school. It's not like there's much competition in Drama seeing as how there's virtually no interest in it compared to football and cheerleading as far as extracurricular activities go, but it's Jared's thing, what he's known for and what he's good at doing. So he figures that he's a shoo-in to play Romeo in the Spring production of Romeo & Juliet.

Until he goes to look up at the audition sign-up list and finds an unknown name listed.

"Jensen Ackles? Who the fuck is Jensen Ackles?"

**

"Oh, like, he's new," Amanda Watkins says as she snaps her gum when Jared asks his lunch table if they've heard of him.

"Dude, he sat next to you in Physics last year," George Thompson points out.

"No, he's totally new," George's girlfriend, Amy Nyden, chimes in.

"I heard he just got out of juvie," Bart Hillenbrand whispers.

"Seriously? I think he just transferred from Dallas or something," the unfortunately named Tom Tompkins says with a roll of his eyes.

"No, dude, seriously, he totally sat next to you last year," George says again.

"Is he the fat kid with the glasses?" Amber Velez ponders.

"No, he's that really hot transfer student," Tami McKee sighs dreamily.

"The one with the scar?" Amber cuts in.

"No. That's the kid who got out of juvie," Tom says, sounding exasperated.

"Like I said, he's new," Amanda says with a shrug.

Jared gives up at that point.

**

After bribing Susie, a volunteer in the Dean's office, with a bag of sour gummy worms, Jared winds up with a copy of this Jensen Ackles' schedule. He has to read it three times. Apparently this guy is in all of Jared's classes? Jared doesn't remember any new people. But then again, he usually doesn't remember what homework was assigned for each class either.

So in his next period, Spanish, Jared spends most of the time looking around him to see if he can spot this Jensen person. He knows everyone in class, or at least their names, except for three guys. One guy is huge, like, not fat, but just big; Jared thinks he might be on the offensive line on the football team. The second guy sort of looks familiar but Jared just can't place him because he looks like every other skater dude in the school. And the third guy looks like he's been held back more than a couple of times because Jared swears he was a senior when Jared was a freshman.

After Spanish is History. Held-back guy and skater guy are both in that. So Jensen Ackles is not a four hundred pound linebacker. The period drags on forever, and then it's English with both guys again. The pattern holds up until the last period of the day, Choir. Skater dude is in that, but not held-back guy.

"You're Jensen Ackles!" Jared marches up to the guy, his voice accusatory.

Guy who is probably Jensen Ackles doesn't move out of his sprawled pose that takes up three steps on the riser, but raises one eyebrow, his eyes sparkling in amusement. "Yeah, dude. That's me."

"You signed up to audition for the lead in the Spring play," Jared continues.

"What of it?" Jensen tilts his head a bit.

"That's… I've always…" Jared sputters in the face of Jensen's unflappability.

"Dude, I don't even know who you are but you need to take a chill pill," Jensen says while Jared gapes like a fish.

"You don't know who I am?" Jared's voice rises in both volume and pitch. "I'm the captain of the Drama Club!"

"Good for you," Jensen says dismissively.

"So I'm the lead in every play," Jared explains as calmly as he possibly can.

"I'm pretty sure that open auditions still being, you know, open, means no one's been cast yet," Jensen smirks, leaning up a bit on his elbows.

"You won't get the part," Jared huffs.

"We'll see," Jensen grins.

**

"I hate Jensen Ackles," Jared informs his mom as soon as he gets home.

"Who's that, dear?"

**

The next day, Jared storms into Mrs. Spengler's office and flops down on her couch. She's the school counselor and, more importantly, the sponsor for the Drama Club. Mrs. Spengler raises an eyebrow at Jared, but otherwise doesn't move from shuffling papers on her desk.

"My life is over," Jared sighs.

"I take it you saw the audition sign-up sheet," Mrs. Spengler says.

"This Jensen Ackles person is not taking my role. This is my Senior year and he's not ruining it!" Jared declares.

"Jared, you should think of this as a challenge. When you go to college, there may be hundreds of people auditioning against you," Mrs. Spengler points out.

"I suppose." Jared heaves himself off the couch. "Ta-ta."

"Goodbye, Jared," Mrs. Spengler says pointedly.

**

Jared spends the rest of the day watching Jensen like a hawk. He jots down every single thing he thinks can help him beat Jensen in the audition.

Jensen has freckles. Which are totally not cute, not even the ones that are on the bridge of his nose.
Jensen likes cherry Blow Pops. When he sticks them in the corner of his mouth and it bulges from his cheek, it does not look hot.
Jensen speaks flawless Spanish. But he's no Casanova.
Jensen knows the answer to question 49 in Calculus. This is the only problem Jared got wrong.
Jensen likes to mix ketchup and mayo to dip his fries in. Which is totally disgusting.
Jensen has a skateboard with a green dragon on it. Jared totally hopes he breaks his leg using it.

**

George is one of the stagehands in Drama and one of the few people who appear to know Jensen outside of Jensen's skating buddies. So Jared corners George in the library, slapping a notebook down on the table and poising his pen over it.

"Tell me everything you know about Jensen Ackles," Jared demands.

"Stalker much?" George laughs.

"This is life or death." Jared points the pen at George. "He could take my position in Drama."

"Heaven forbid," George mutters.

"Get to talking." Jared taps his pen on the table.

George rolls his eyes. "Fine. He's a pretty chill dude. I guess. He's a skater, one of the best. He's won some competitions. I heard he designed his own deck."

"And?" Jared prompts.

"And what?" George shrugs. "It's not like I'm the dude's BFF."

Jared brings the pen up to his lip, tapping it there. "And who is exactly is his BFF?"

"I don't know, man. Try the skate park." George looks pointedly at his book. "You gonna let me get back to work now?"

"I suppose," Jared sighs.

**

The skate park is in the industrial section of town behind a train yard. It's filled with guys wearing baggy pants and Converse. Jared watches from behind a concrete pillar as Jensen does some kind of trick that involves a handstand. A super-skinny guy with tattoos all over his arms is shouting directions at Jensen, or at least that's what Jared thinks he's doing because it's all a bunch of nonsense to Jared.

Jensen does another trick and falls, scraping his whole right side against the concrete. Jared winces, hopes the injury is bad enough to prevent Jensen from trying out for the play, and then winces again out of guilt.

**

For the next week, Jared buries himself in Shakespeare, he answers question in history in Middle English, orders his lunch in the form of a sonnet, and practices kissing in the mirror. By the time the auditions come around, Jared feels as though he is Romeo. No way is Jensen fucking Ackles going to take this away from him.

Except that Jensen's actually good. Really, really good. Jared watches his audition from the wings, mouthing the words along with Jensen, completely stunned. Jensen might even be as good as Jared. But that doesn't mean he has any right to come in and take Jared's rightful spot in the play.

Jared is determined to knock it out of the park, be better than he ever has before. He's so going to own this. Jensen fucking Ackles will be humiliated and Jared will be the Romeo to end all Romeos.

**

When the cast list goes up two days later, Jared thinks he's hallucinating. He stares at it, blinks, squints, tilts his head, rubs his eyes, but it still says the same thing.

Romeo … Jensen Ackles
Juliet … Maria Diaz
Tybalt … Jared Padalecki

The rest of the names are a big blur. Tybalt?! This can't be right. Jared can feel himself start to hyperventilate. He backs away but hits what feels like a wall.

"Hey, watch it."

Jared turns and points at Jensen. "You. You bastard."

"I take it I beat you out for Romeo," Jensen says dryly.

Before Jared can even think about it, he's punching Jensen.

**

"This type of behavior will not be tolerated, Mr. Padalecki," Principal Suarez barks.

"Yes, sir," Jared mumbles.

"I just can't believe that my Jared would do something like this," Jared's mom says. "I'm just aghast."

"Perhaps you should consider anger management counseling," Suarez says, handing Mrs. Padalecki a pamphlet. "We will of course insist that Jared attends counseling here at school as well as soon as his suspension is lifted."

"Suspension?" Jared gasps.

"We have a clear 'no tolerance' policy when it comes to school violence, Mr. Padalecki. You should count yourself lucky that Mr. Ackles didn't press charges on top of this punishment," Suarez points out.

"Yes, sir."

"And I'm sure you realize that this means you won't be participating in the Spring play."

Jared swallows back the lump in his throat. He won't cry, he won't. "Yes, sir."

"Just be grateful you've already sent your transcripts out to the colleges you've applied to."

"Yes, sir."

**

Principal Suarez wasn't lying when he said the policy was strict. Jared's suspension lasts all the way up until graduation. He spends the entire last semester of his Senior year doing online classes and having his homework brought to him by his dorky little Freshman sister. There's no prom for him, no Senior lock-in, no participation in the class photo. He's been told he's lucky that Suarez is letting him come to the graduation ceremony.

Jared doesn’t think it will be so much lucky as it will be humiliating.

**

George is the only one that really keeps in touch with Jared during his long months of confinement. He mainly talks about the never-ending saga between him and his perpetually on-again, off-again girlfriend, Amy. It's better entertainment than the soap operas Jared's mom watches in the afternoon, but it also depresses Jared.

He won't be going to prom, so it's hard to care about Amy forcing George to wear a pink cummerbund to match her dress. And he didn't get to attend the Senior lock-out, so hearing about how Vince Russo got drunk and tried to re-enact the half-naked sock slide from Risky Business but wiped out and knocked over Mrs. Grand, the petite French teacher instead isn't as nearly as funny as seeing it in person, so it's hard to laugh along with George.

What's worse than any of that is how Jared can't stop thinking about Jensen fucking Ackles. It's his fault that Jared is stuck at home, reading books instead of actually participating in class. Taking tests and having no one to study with or compare notes.

Jared can't wait until this is over with, until he can leave this place and start on his career.

**

Jared feels even more isolated from his peers at graduation, a time when he should feel closer to them, knowing they've reached this goal together. He lets his mom snap photos and gamely lets his little sister wear his cap, but feels like a complete outcast when it's time for yearbook signings. He can feel everyone staring at him, like he's got a big neon sign on his head that says 'Loser Who Got Suspended'.

George tries to include Jared in everything, but Jared can't stop feeling awkward about it all. He always thought of himself as a good kid, the type of kid who gets good grades and mostly stays out of trouble. This whole fight, this suspension is not Jared at all. At least he never thought he would be capable of something like this. It makes his skin itch, like something is bursting to get out.

Ackles is there, of course. Right in the front row. Jared's sister had told him that Jensen got rave reviews from the student and local paper for his turn as Romeo. The news had made Jared want to punch Jensen all over again. It just wasn't fair.

Jensen fucking Ackles is gorgeous, smart, and talented, and Jared is so envious he could die.

**

Three Months Later

Jensen chooses Columbia College because it was the university furthest away from Texas that accepted him. Chicago is a new city with new people and a chance to start fresh. He can be himself here instead of playing a part to make it through the day without getting shoved into a locker. There's a really cool gay neighborhood just an L ride away and he's at an art college, so there's bound to be guys his age who are into punky skater dudes instead of cheerleaders, right?

This is what keeps Jensen happy as he lugs all his shit into his dorm room. But when he's on his last box, he finds his roommate standing there and he looks awfully familiar. When he turns, Jensen drops his box in shock.

"You," Jensen and Jared say at the same time with equal amounts of horror in their voices.

If Jensen's life was a comic book, Jared Padalecki would be his arch nemesis; the Superman to his Lex Luthor, because let's face it, Lex Luthor is way cooler. And there's no way in fucking hell Jensen is sharing a room with the guy.

"Okay, let's just go down to Housing and get this straightened out," Jensen says.

"I can't believe you stole my school, too," Jared grumbles.

"Would you get over it already?" Jensen huffs. "And if I knew you were going here, trust me, I would've gone someplace else."

"Whatever," Jared sighs. "Let's just get this fixed."

**

The line at Housing is extremely long since most people are moving in today and are there to pick up their room assignments and keys. Jensen already spent an eternity in this line this morning, so he's less than thrilled to be doing it again. Especially with Jared standing next to him, tapping his foot and sighing constantly.

"Would you stop that?" Jensen complains after a particularly loud sigh.

"Stop what?"

"The dramatic sighing!"

"I am capturing the essence of the moment," Jared says with a flourish of his hands.

"This isn't a play," Jensen reminds him.

"All the world's a stage—"

"Shakespeare? Really?" Jensen cuts him off. "Just try pretending you're playing the part of a normal human being."

"There is so no such thing as normal," Jared says as he crosses his arms over his chest.

"Somebody save me," Jensen mutters under his breath.

Thankfully, they're next in line and called up to the counter before Jared can retort. Jensen calmly explains the situation to the girl behind the desk, but she just laughs at him.

"Honey, we've got a waiting list for housing taller than you. There are about a hundred sophomores just chomping at the bit just waiting for some freshman to drop out. So either you learn to get along or you find an apartment." She pauses and then looks beyond Jared and Jensen. "Next!"

**

Jensen cannot afford an apartment, especially not on his own. He's at this school on a scholarship. Even if he did find a place with cheap rent and roommates, Jensen would have to get a part-time job to pay for it all. With Jensen's course load, that's just not possible. He wants to graduate in three years, so he's taking twenty-one credit hours this semester to get all the basics out of the way.

His dream since he was seven years-old is to become a comic book artist. He wants to draw superheroes in clean lines and maybe even write his own storylines. Maybe on the side he'll do designs for skateboard decks. There were no art classes at his high school, but Jensen's been drawing since he could pick up a pencil and kept at it even without formal training. Hell, his portfolio was good enough to get him into this school on a full ride.

He's not going to let Jared fucking Padalecki ruin all his hard work.

"Listen," Jensen says when he and Jared reluctantly return to their dorm room. "Just keep your shit on your side of the room and don't bug me and we'll be fine."

"Whatever," Jared mutters, turning his back on Jensen.

Jensen rolls his eyes and then leaves the room, figuring he'll unpack later when Jared isn't there.

**

It's surprising, but Jensen just falls into a group of friends like they had always known each other. Jensen had hoped things would be different here, but he wasn't expecting it to be so much easier. Danneel is a firecracker, full of wit and sass and a damn good roller-skater to boot. She plays in an amateur roller derby league and could probably kick Jensen's ass. Sophia is Danneel's girlfriend and despite all appearances, is just as tough. She's a photographer, constantly taking pictures of everything, at least one camera always slung around her neck. Chad is a skater like Jensen, but he's more serious about it, looking to go pro. He's got the same sharp sense of humor as the rest of them, but can also get really quiet and introspective.

Jensen's glad he found them because otherwise he'd have to spend even more time with his asshole roommate. All that Jensen can see that's changed about Jared since high school is his physical appearance because he's still a grade-A asshole.

But that doesn't stop Jensen from admitting that the guy has a hot body. Jared Padalecki is like every one of Jensen's wet dreams come true if he would just stand there and not open his mouth, ever.

**

Jensen's first clue that this whole roommates thing is not going to work out is the ironing board. More specifically, the ironing board that Jared left out, right in front of Jensen's bed, so that Jensen was practically guaranteed to smack into it. And why was the ironing board out? Because apparently Jared irons his polo shirts and khakis. Does anyone iron anything anymore? Aren't all pants wrinkle-free? Jensen wonders as he kicks the board out of the way, inadvertently knocking a half-empty mug of coffee onto Jared's pillow.

Yawning, Jensen contemplates cleaning up the mess for all of three seconds. It's not like it's his fault that Jared left the ironing board there. Maybe he'll learn to put his shit away now.

That night, Jensen comes home to find his entire bed stripped down, leaving just a bare mattress. His bedding is nowhere to be found. Jensen is exhausted and pissed off, so he rips the blanket off Jared's bed and wraps himself up in it, curling up on his bed.

**

"So, this morning he hits snooze on his alarm and then leaves the room. Fifteen minutes later, the fucking thing goes off again and he's not there. Who does that? Who?" Jensen complains Danneel, as they're waiting in line at the caf for lunch.

"Hello? Tall? Dark? Gorgeous?" Danneel picks up a can of Diet Coke and sets it on her tray. "I would think that overrides all other flaws."

"Yeah, maybe if you're horribly shallow," Jensen mutters. He goes to pick up a can of Coke, but Danneel slaps his wrist and shoves a Diet in his hands.

Jensen frowns at the silver can. "Just because you're on a diet doesn't mean I have to be on one."

"Are you saying I should be on a diet?" Danneel turns and puts her hands on her hips. "Are you saying I'm fat?"

"I plead the fifth." Jensen sets the Diet Coke on his tray anyway. "And being gorgeous doesn't excuse you from being an asshole."

"Sure it does. It's the underlying principle of our entire society." Danneel pauses to pay for her drink and small salad. "If you're beautiful, rich, or powerful, you can do whatever the fuck you want."

Jensen pays for his own meal and follows Danneel to their usual table in the back corner. "Well, that's not how it should be."

Danneel raises an eyebrow. "Really? Because you know, you could play that card too."

"I'm none of those things," Jensen mutters.

"Yeah, right." Danneel stabs a piece of lettuce with her fork. "If you just wore clothes that fit and didn't hide under baseball caps all the time, you'd have people fawning all over you."

Jensen looks down at his vintage mechanic shirt and baggy cargo shorts, and shrugs. "Whatever."

"I mean, if I had your ass? I'd be wearing nothing but skinny jeans," Danneel says, ignoring Jensen.

"Yeah, and I prefer not to have my junk smashed like a pancake for the sake of fashion." Jensen shudders. "Or have to use pliers to zipper my pants."

"That's what button-fly jeans are for."

"Okay, enough with the fashion lesson." Jensen takes a notebook out of his backpack. "You study for the Art History 101 quiz yet?"

Danneel sighs. "No."

Jensen launches into the list of topics being covered, grateful for the change in subject. How did talking about what an idiot Jared Padalecki is turn into a conversation about Jensen's ass, anyway?

**

On Wednesdays, Jensen has classes from eight in the morning until six at night with no break. Usually he stops by the caf to get something to go and then eats it while trying to study before he just crashes. Normally Jared is gone Wednesday nights, but tonight Jensen walks in, half asleep, and Jared is there, on the bed. Riding some dude reverse cowboy.

Jensen had suspected Jared was at least bi because what straight guy is that into theatre and musicals? But he had never seen Jared with a guy. Just a never-ending parade of petite chicks who seemed to fall for the poetry-spewing puppy look without fail.

"What the fuck?" Jensen barks out, dropping his take out bag on the floor.

Jared's eyes snap open and he grins at Jensen. Grins at him. "What does it look like?"

Jensen glances back at the doorknob, looking for a sock, for any sign telling him to take a walk and come back later. There's nothing. He whips his head back. The guy under Jared is twisting a bit like maybe he's trying to get up, but Jared is still riding his cock in slow, undulating movements.

"Don't be such a prude," Jared laughs.

Not even bothering to pick up his food, Jensen stalks away, slamming the door behind him. He can hear Jared through the door, murmuring something about faster and harder.

**

"The thing is, he wasn't anything like this in high school," Jensen says to his friends through a mouthful of fries. "He was the one who was kind of a prude."

"Sometimes the freedom goes to your head." Chad takes a deep gulp of his milkshake. "My first semester here, I fucked anything that moved."

"You still fuck anything that moves," Sophia says dryly.

"Yeah, but only girls now," Chad smirks.

"He's like the worst roommate ever," Jensen bemoans, stealing Chad's shake.

"I dunno. Does he at least wash his clothes?" Danneel asks. "Because my first roommate never washed her socks. She just kept kicking them under the bed. I swear, I went through hundreds of gallons of Febreeze."

"I can deal with moldy socks. But walking in on him getting fucked?" Jensen makes a face. "No thanks."

"Dude is kind of hot though," Sophia jumps in. "You gotta admit that."

"He's alright," Jensen mumbles. Okay, so Jared is hot. Really hot. Especially when he's naked. But it's not like Jensen is going to admit that out loud.

**

The following Wednesday, Jensen comes home and pauses at the door. He presses his ear against it and listens for a moment. Silence, blessed silence. Taking a deep breath, Jensen pushes open the door and does a quick glance around. Jared is definitely gone. Sighing in relief, Jensen kicks the door shut and then flops down on his bed. He's got a quiz in Algebra tomorrow that he's most likely going to fail even though he's spent the past three days studying for it. Why does an Art major need math anyway?

He vaguely contemplates kicking off his shoes but falls asleep before he gets to it.

What seems like just seconds later, Jensen jolts awake. There is a marching band in his dorm room. That's the only explanation for the sudden wall of sound assaulting his ears. Jensen pats uselessly at his nightstand as he wakes up a bit more, thinking maybe Chad changed his ringtone, but no, the sound doesn't stop.

Jensen lifts his head and blinks blearily around the room. Jared is standing in front of the TV, singing along to what looks like The Sound of Music. It's four in the fucking morning and Jensen doesn't have to be awake until seven. So he can take his Algebra quiz, so he passes the class, so he doesn't have to think about taking a math course ever again.

Before Jensen can even think, he's out of bed, yanking the electrical cord for the TV out of the socket and whipping it back at Jared.

"What. The. Fuck," Jensen grates out.

"I have an audition at seven," Jared says looking completely mystified.

"It's four in the goddamn motherfucking morning," Jensen spits. "Have some fucking respect."

Jared raises an eyebrow. "You kiss your mother with that mouth?"

Jensen is exhausted and pissed off and he's had enough. He's punching Jared before he knows it, his knuckles snapping against bone, sharp pain spreading down his arm, while Jared stumbles back against that fucking ironing board. Jared rubs at his jaw. Jensen shakes out his hand, thinking that maybe now that he's stood up for himself, Jared will stop being such an asshole.

"That all you got?" Jared sneers.

He barrels at Jensen like a freight train, knocking him back onto the bed. Jared is spitting out stuff about high school and how Jensen ruined his life. Jensen is pretty sure that Jared's the one that punched him back then.

They wrestle on the bed, fall to the floor, keep it up, throwing punches and insults. Sweat dripping off the tips of Jared's bangs into Jensen's face, Jensen's fingers clawing at Jared's shoulders, trying to push him off, trying not to think about how they're both in just their boxers here. Obviously Jared is thinking about it, has to be when he rolls his hips down into Jensen's, hard snaps until they're both groaning. Now Jensen's scratching his fingernails down Jared's back, hoping the marks don't fade right away, hoping Jared will feel them for days.

"So fucking infuriating," Jared grits out before nipping at Jensen's jaw, his neck, biting hard into his collarbone.

"Shut up," Jensen hisses.

He grabs Jared's ass, pushes his hips up harder into Jared's. He's so close, so close. Jared's making these whimpering sounds that shouldn't be adorable and Jensen can't stand it. He uses every ounce of his energy to flip them over so he's on top, smirking down at Jared. Jared who obviously got the wind knocked out of him with that move. Jensen yanks his boxers down and jacks his cock hard and fast until he's coming all over Jared's stomach and chest. He can feel the heat and wetness of Jared's own release seep through two layers of cheap cotton.

After wiping his hand clean on Jared's hip, Jensen stands up, tucks his cock in and goes back to bed, leaving Jared on the floor, covered in their come.

**

The next morning, Jensen tries not to think about Jared at all. He takes is Algebra quiz and goes to his pottery class, and ignores the aching bruise on his clavicle. What happened was a one-time thing and Jensen won't let himself get out of control like that again. He's going to stay away from the dorm room as much as possible and hope Jared does the same.

Except that doesn't quite work out. Jensen goes to get his laptop and take it to the library, but Jared is home. Twenty minutes later, Jensen is panting to catch his breath after coming his brains out, his boxers hanging off one ankle, spit and come drying on his softening cock.

"I tripped on your skateboard this morning," Jared says.

Jensen squints at the wet spot on Jared's jeans. Dude came in his pants again. "So?"

"So put it away."

Jared stands up, yanking his shirt down. It just barely covers the evidence. Jensen kicks his boxers off the rest of the way then uses them to clean himself up. When he looks up again, Jared is gone.

**

This bizarre routine continues for the next few weeks.

Jensen leaves wet towels on the floor, Jared uses them to tie Jensen to the bed and blow his brains out. Jared forgets to turn off his alarm; Jensen pushes him face-down on the bed and fucks his cock between Jared's thighs until they both come. Jensen eats Jared's leftovers, Jared face-fucks Jensen until they both have bruises.

The sex is beyond hot. Jensen's dated a few guys, had a few one-night stands, but none of those affairs have been this passionate, this out of control. This addicting, Jensen can admit it. If only Jared wasn't such an asshole, maybe it could be more.

**

"Well, well," Chad says when Jensen shows up to the skate park with a huge hickey on his neck. "Someone's been gettin' some."

Jensen checks the wheels on his deck, making sure they're still secure. He hasn't been out here in a while. Kind of hard to find time between classes and getting fucked.

"Yeah," Jensen mutters, feeling kind of weird talking about it.

Chad raises an eyebrow. "What? Shouldn't you be all high on endorphins and shit?"

"It's complicated," Jensen says with a shrug.

"That's a Facebook status, not an answer," Chad snorts.

"Well, it's all I got," Jensen says before dropping his board and taking off.

**

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Jensen can't stop saying. Jared's got his tongue up Jensen's ass and his right hand around Jensen's dick, and Jensen feels like he's going to die.

He doesn't even know how they ended up like this, exactly. One minute they were arguing over whose turn it was to have the TV and the next they were naked and sprawled on Jared's bed. Jensen is beyond dazed now, fingers clenching the sheets, torn between humping forward into Jared's hands or back onto his tongue.

"Can I fuck you?" Jared pants between swipes of his tongue.

"Yeah," Jensen is answering without a thought. Almost immediately he wants to take it back, but Jared's pulling out lube and a condom and it's not like Jensen is losing their roommate war by doing this. He's just giving in a little. That's all.

**

They fuck like bunnies after that. Jared tops more often than not, but Jensen is okay with that, especially when Jared pins him down and fucks into him like a jackrabbit, hitting his prostate with every thrust. Being the bottom in that situation is no work and all pleasure.

But they never do it face-to-face and they've never kissed, at least not on the mouth. They came close once, Jensen turning his head just as Jared was leaning over his shoulder. Jared's lips just barely touched the corner of Jensen's before Jared shoved Jensen down and fucked him harder, almost punishing him.

Jared gets twitchy after that almost-kiss, too. He bites his lip a lot and does this thing where it looks like he's going to ask Jensen something, but then snaps his mouth shut halfway through, like he thought the better of it. A couple of times Jensen comes home to find Jared pacing the floor, muttering to himself. He always looks embarrassed when Jensen clears his throat almost like he was caught doing something he doesn't want Jensen to witness.

They still fuck though; it's not like they need to care about each other's feelings to do that.

So Jensen doesn't even think of saying no when Tom from his pottery class asks him out on a date. It's not like Jensen and Jared are dating or have even said anything to each other outside of bed in weeks.

**

Tom is nice and hot, but kind of boring. Jensen finds himself staring at Tom's hands through most of their dates. He has nice hands. Big hands. Like Jared's hands. Jensen mentally shakes that thought off. It's Wednesday. Jared is never home on Wednesdays.

Jensen crooks a finger in Tom's belt loop and tugs him closer when they reach Jensen's dorm room. Normally Tom just drops him off with a kiss goodbye, but Jensen is looking for more tonight.

"So, wanna come inside?" Jensen purrs.

"You sure?" Tom asks, brow furrowing a bit.

"Yeah." Jensen cups Tom's cock through his jeans. "Totally."

**

As it turns out, Tom is kind of boring in bed too. He finger bangs Jensen for a while and then fucks him in the same, monotonous rhythm, never even coming close to Jensen's prostate. Jensen's glad they aren't face-to-face so he can yawn into the pillow without consequence. He fakes his orgasm, hopes Tom doesn't notice the lack of a wet spot, and then yanks his boxers back on before Tom can get any ideas about cuddling.

"You're so hot," Tom pants, still sprawled on the bed despite the fact that Jensen is up and halfway dressed.

"Thanks," Jensen mutters.

That's when the door opens. Jared smirks when he sees Jensen, obviously appreciating Jensen's half-dressed state. But the smirk quickly turns into a frown when he spots Tom.

"What the fuck is this?" Jared asks, voice low.

"Hey, you must be Jensen's roommate," Tom says cheerfully oblivious. "I'm Tom."

"Get out," Jared snarls.

"What the fuck, Jared?" Jensen asks, stepping between Tom and Jared. "Like I haven't walked in on you before."

"Yeah, but that was before…"

Jensen gestures for Jared to continue. He can hear Tom getting dressed behind him. A hand touches his shoulder, there's a brush of lips to his cheek, and then Tom is gone. Jensen thinks he says goodbye, but he's a little distracted by how pissed off Jared looks right now.

"Before what?" Jensen asks after the door clicks shut.

"Before you and I started something," Jared finishes.

"Something? Like what?" Jensen asks in disbelief. "We fuck. That's all."

"That's all?" Jared asks, sounding almost sad.

"Are you kidding me?" Jensen's voice rises in pitch. "We hardly ever talk. Hell, we've never even kissed—"

Jensen is cut off when Jared surges forward and does just that. Kisses Jensen like he's dying for it. And Jensen almost kisses him back, but then he thinks of Tom, poor, boring Tom, his almost boyfriend, and how Jared irritates the living fuck out of him, and he pushes Jared away.

"Listen, it's over, Jared." Jensen swipes the back of his hand over his mouth. "I'm dating someone now."

"Fine," Jared says. "Fine."

They don't speak again for the rest of the night.

**

For the next couple of weeks, Jensen keeps dating Tom, even though he's bored out of his mind, and tries to avoid being alone with Jared in their room except to sleep. Jared, meanwhile, seems to be much more withdrawn. If he's hooking up with someone, he never brings any of them back to their room. The ironing board isn't left out anymore, the alarm clock never beeps more than twice, and even Jensen leaving his wet towels on the floor doesn't seem to aggravate Jared anymore.

"It's like being in the Twilight Zone," Jensen says to Sophia while they watch Danneel practice with her roller derby team.

"Why don't you just admit that you like him? You've always liked him. And date him instead of that wet dishrag you call a boyfriend," Sophia comments almost absently before standing up to cheer Danneel on.

"I don't like Jared!" Jensen cries indignantly.

"Yeah, sure. That's why I know more about him than I do about you. He's all you ever talk about," Sophia huffs.

"What? No, I don't," Jensen protests.

"Jared and I went to high school together. Jared owns too many pink shirts. Jared irons his polo shirts. Jared is a neat freak. Jared is majoring in Drama. Jared can recite Pi up to twenty decimals. Jared smells like honey and lemons. I totally miss his musk," Sophia mocks.

Jensen starts to protest again, but when he thinks about it, Sophia is right. "Shut your face," Jensen grumbles instead.

"Uh-huh," Sophia says knowingly.

**

Sophia is right about one thing and that's Tom. Jensen breaks up with him after Pottery, doing it in the hallway so maybe there won't be a scene. It turns out he shouldn't have worried because Tom just shrugs, like he saw it coming.

"Good luck with Jared," Tom throws over his shoulder as he walks away.

"I don't like Jared!" Jensen shouts after him.

When everyone in the hallway turns to stare at Jensen, he hides his face behind his hand before scampering out of the building.

**

Jensen spends the rest of the day wandering up and down Michigan Avenue, taking in the tall buildings, the business people rushing to and from work. Chicago is a cool city and Jensen can see staying here after he graduates. If he survives the first winter, that is. It's not like winters in Texas were anything remotely like those in the Midwest.

He thinks about how Jared has pretty decent taste in music. How maybe they could go to concerts in the park this spring. Then he realizes that he's thinking of some kind of future with Jared in it and he almost slaps himself. Jared is just his roommate and the guy he's fucked a couple of times, nothing more.

**

"Haven't seen Tom around in a while," Jared says out of the blue a few days later.

They're both sitting on their beds, reading. Jensen is trying to catch up with his American Literature reading list which fell by the wayside in favor of sex, dating, and his horrible grasp of math of any sort.

"Yeah, we broke up," Jensen mutters, eyes still on the text.

"Oh. Well, uh, do you think maybe we could go out? Sometime?"

Jensen looks up from his book to find Jared sitting on the edge of his bed, biting his lip and twisting his fingers in the sheets. He looks more like the boy Jensen knew in high school and less like the douchebag roommate he used to fuck. Actually, he looks kind of adorable.

"Maybe," Jensen says softly.

"We're kind of doing this backwards," Jared smiles tentatively.

"Yeah, kind of." Jensen pats the space next to him and Jared slides in beside him, book still in hand.

"But at least we already know we're sexually compatible," Jared grins.

Jensen snorts. "There is that."

"And we can live together without killing each other," Jared continues.

"Barely," Jensen laughs.

Jared kisses Jensen's cheek. "Makes it interesting, don't you think?"

Jensen turns his head and kisses Jared properly but softly, more of a hello than anything else. "We'll see."