Jensen came home from band rehearsal to find the house dark except for (oddly enough) the bathroom light. He tried not to be disappointed - he'd been hoping Jared would be waiting up for him, and it really wasn't that late. The house was strangely quiet, too, and he had to double-check to make sure he really had seen Jared's truck in the driveway and all three of his bikes in the garage and the dogs' leashes hanging just outside the kitchen door.
"Jared?" he called, dropping his jacket and guitar on the couch and heading towards the bathroom. "Harley? Sadie? Where is everyone?" Sadie appeared from the direction of the bedroom, walked around his legs, and headed back. Jensen followed.
He could see a little from the light of the bathroom, but he flipped the switch in the bedroom anyway and saw that Harley was lying on the floor by the foot of the bed like he was guarding it, Sadie had jumped on the mattress, and Jared was a lump under the covers. Jensen thought he was asleep, but then he stirred, lifted his head, rubbed at his eyes, and said "Hey, you're home." His voice was a little hoarse and a lot tired, and Jensen felt bad for waking him up.
"I didn't know you were asleep," he said. "I'm sorry I woke you up." The blankets twitched in what was probably a shrug. Jensen realized that it wasn't that cold in the house and there wasn't much reason for Jared to be snugged that tightly under the covers. He walked all the way into the room and over to the bed. "Is something wrong? Are you ok?" He crouched down by Jared's head and brushed his hair back to feel his forehead. His skin was a little clammy and warm.
"I think I had food poisoning," Jared said. He yawned. "I'm ok now."
"Food poisoning? How do you know that's what it was?" Jensen tried not to sound alarmed. There were things that felt like food poisoning at first but were much more serious than that. Not that food poisoning itself was a harmless event.
"There were cream puffs. And egg salad. And I threw up for like five hours."
"Jesus, Jared, why didn't you call me? I would've come home!"
Another shrug. Jared pushed his head against Jensen's hand like a cat, and Jensen stroked the side of his face. His cheeks were warm too.
"It was gross. I was gross. I'm ok now, really. Just tired. And kind of cold. I think I have a fever. Or something. I think."
"Did you hydrate? Drink a lot of water?"
"I know what 'hydrate' means." Jared grinned and Jensen rolled his eyes.
"Did you drink water, not Coke."
"Yeah." Jared nodded towards the nightstand, where Jensen now noticed a large (and empty) water glass. "The dogs are looking after me." He grinned again. "Standing guard. I'm glad you're home."
"Me too. I'm going to get you more water, ok? And you're gonna drink it."
"Yes mom." Jared yawned again and closed his eyes. Jensen took the glass into the kitchen, refilled it, and brought it back to the bedroom. He shook Jared gently, handed him the glass, and waited while he drank it.
"I don't wanna puke again," Jared said, handing the glass back only half-empty. Jensen put it on the nightstand.
"I was going to watch some TV before bed. Do you feel up to joining me? You can lie on the couch."
There was something disconcerting about his six-foot-five giant of a boyfriend curled into the smallest ball possible with the blankets pulled up to his chin, and Jensen thought if he could get Jared to move to the couch, he might not look so pathetic and ill.
"No, I'm ok. The bed's comfortable. I got my dogs. Will you stay here, though? I'm probably gonna go back to sleep, but - "
"Yeah, I'll stay with you." It was hard to say no. "Come on, Sadie, off the bed." She just looked at Jensen as if to say I am a guard dog, and I am guarding, so he added "I'll give you some cheese." She bounced off the bed. Harley's ears perked up as well, he jumped to his feet, and they both followed Jensen out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, where he gave them each a Kraft single for all their hard work in looking out for their person.
He picked up his guitar and went back into the bedroom, the dogs still following, and climbed onto the bed. Jared rolled over to face him.
"Are you gonna play me something?" he asked.
"I thought I might," Jensen said. "My mom used to tell me that when I was really little, my dad would sing to me when I was sick or fussy. He sang to all of us when we were babies. I guess it calmed us down." The corners of his mouth turned up in a nostalgic smile. He and his dad hadn't always had the best relationship - his dad had a hard time with it when Jensen came out - so Jensen hung on to all the reminders he could that his dad loved him and wanted to be a good father.
"Should I fuss?" Jared grinned.
"Should I find you a pacifier?"
"When I don't feel like hammered shit. I know how you can pacify me." Jared closed his eyes, still grinning. Jensen reached over and ruffled his hair.
"You sleep. I'll sing."
He mentally shuffled through his repertoire and settled on a quiet song he'd written about Austin, a song he knew Jared liked.
"I like that one," Jared mumbled unnecessarily when the song was over.
"Why do you think I sang it?"
"'Cause you love me." Jared snuggled deeper into the blankets and whatever he said next was muffled by his pillow.
Jensen sang a love song next, and another one after that, and then bits of the songs his dad used to sing to him when he was a baby and wouldn't stop crying. He could hear the dogs snuffling in their sleep, and if he listened carefully he could hear Jared breathing.
Jensen's fingers were light on his guitar, his voice soft and low, and for almost forty minutes he sang to Jared while Jared slept. It was the least he could do, and of course Jared was right - he did it because he loved him.