Jared Padalecki was snowed under. He had major end-of-semester papers due for every single subject, and every single one of his subjects had an end of semester exam too. Jared rubbed the heel of his palm against the bridge of his nose and groaned. He hadn’t even started studying for his exams yet, which meant that for the next week he was going to be surviving on No-Doze and way too many cups of the red-eye special from Starbucks.
Jared took a sip of his now-cold coffee and curled his lips in distaste. He pulled his hood further forward to better block out the people studying around him and switched playlists on his i-phone, trading in Jay-Z for a classical mix. He adjusted the volume on his noise-cancelling headphones and then closed his eyes and let Pachelbel’s Canon in D wash over him. What idiot had thought that doing a double degree would be a good idea? Oh yeah, that’d be him. And the stress? Really not good for him. Not good at all.
Jared took a deep breath and tried to center himself, focusing on keeping his emotions corralled inside himself. It was a new technique that he’d learned from Genevieve when he joined the campus Magus Pride Club. Of all the things Jared loved about California, the way it accepted the magi was his favorite. Jared was Out, back home in Texas—what with both his parents and his younger sister being magi and his mom being an outspoken magi activist, it wasn’t like he’d ever really had a choice—and for the most part he hadn’t encountered too much overt prejudice. But that didn’t mean that he was immune to the general attitude of disapproval that permeated his home state. His own circle of family and friends may have been liberal and magi-positive, but out there in the Holy-fire-belt, if you were magi, you still had to be careful. It really wasn’t like that in California and Jared loved it.
Jared was still sitting with his eyes closed, running through his breathing and centering exercises when something hit him on the chest. He looked down at the crumpled ball of paper sitting on his Physics notes and frowned at it before glancing up uncertainly… into the most gorgeous pair of big, green eyes it had ever been his pleasure to look at. The eyes were set in a perfectly proportioned, pretty, yet masculine, face, which also had a cute button nose, full bowed lips that Jared was already fantasizing about kissing, and (Jared’s heart may possibly have fluttered a little) an adorable smattering of light freckles across the nose and cheekbones.
Unfortunately, the attractive face was currently scowling at Jared, lips moving, and Jared scrambled to push his hood back and yank his headphones off.
“Sorry, what?” he said.
The man’s brow furrowed even further and he gestured impatiently above his head. “Do something about this!” he snapped.
Jared lifted his eyes from the man’s face and immediately blanched. “Oh shit. Oh shit, I’m so sorry. Shit.”
Dancing above the guy’s head were sparkly, rainbow-colored swirls; a physical manifestation of Jared’s magic. Jared called them back and reintegrated them immediately, his face flushing. God; how embarrassing. It was considered really bad manners to lose control of your magic like that; people might laugh at a young magi child for losing control and an older child might be gently reprimanded for doing so, but for an adult to be so uncontrolled was met with real disapproval.
“I’m so sorry,” Jared said again, once he’d reined in his wayward magic. “I didn’t mean to. And I know that’s no excuse. I’m just so stressed out at the moment. All my subjects have exams. And end of semester papers. And for some stupid reason I thought it’d be a good idea to do a double degree and my parents said I wouldn’t cope and… Oh God. I’m rambling, aren’t I?” Jared put his face in his hands. Way to look like a complete freak in front of the hottest guy he’d seen since he came to Stanford. “Shut up, Jared. Just…shut up.”
Jared peeked through his fingers at the hot guy. The guy’s eyes were wide and he looked slightly bemused. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Jensen.”
Jared dropped his hands from his face and grinned. It occurred to him fleetingly that if he were one of his dogs, who, sadly, were back home in Texas, his tongue would be hanging out, his ears would be perked forward and his tail would be thumping madly on the ground, but he didn’t care.
“Hi,” he said, sitting up straighter. “Does this mean you forgive me?”
Jensen nodded. “Just…try not to let it happen again,” he frowned. “And don’t turn me into a toad or anything.”
Jared’s eyebrows shot up. “Not possible,” he said. “I mean, aside from the fact that you could never be as ugly as a toad, it’s simply not thaumaturgically possible to turn a living creature into another type of living creature. It’s way too complex, you’d just end up maiming or killing whatever it was you were trying to change.”
Jensen’s eyes widened even further and he looked a lot less reassured than Jared had hoped. Which…okay, perhaps mentioning maiming and killing had been a bad idea?
“Not that I have any plans to maim or kill you,” he said hurriedly. “That would be illegal. Not to mention wrong and I’m just gonna shut up now, okay?”
Jensen licked his lips. “No maiming or killing,” he said. “Good plan. I’m totally on board with that,” he cleared his throat. “So. You’re doing a double-degree?”
Jared nodded. “Yeah. Mechanical Engineering and Thaumaturgy.”
Jensen’s eyebrows rose. “You’re studying magic?”
“And Mechanical Engineering,” Jared nodded. “Which actually go together a lot better than you’d think.”
Jensen sucked his bottom lip in between his teeth and Jared tracked the movement with interest. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” Jensen said, “but, uh…” he paused and seemed to switch directions. “That is a faint Texan twang I’m detecting in your accent, right?”
Jared nodded. “Sure. You can take the boy outta Texas,” he shrugged. “What about you? Where are you from?”
“I’m from the Lone Star State myself,” Jensen said, letting his own accent off leash.
“Wow,” Jared grinned. “I did not pick that. You’ve really lost the accent.”
“Yeah.” Jensen rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. “It comes out when I’m real tired. Or drunk. But, uh, I’ve been out here over three years now and, plus,” he hesitated. “Plus I’ve had some voice coaching.”
“Voice coaching?” Jared shook his head. “You were that keen to separate yourself from your roots?”
Jensen’s cheeks flushed pink. “No. It’s just, uh. I do modelling. It beats bussing tables, right? It’s mostly catwalk and catalogue stuff, but my agent thought she might be able to get me some television commercials if I lost the accent, so…”
Jared’s jaw didn’t hit the desk in front of him, but it was a close thing. Of course Jensen—with his perfectly symmetrical face—was a model. Jensen earned money by being beautiful. Jared—awkward, gangly, dorky Jared— didn’t stand a chance.
“Wow,” he mumbled. “That’s awesome.”
“Yeah,” Jensen voiced his agreement, but he sounded dispirited. “Anyway, what I was going to say was, uh, do you really think that studying magic is the right thing to do? I mean, I know you can’t help being a—” Jensen cut himself off and frowned, “a, uh, a thaumaturgist, that’s inside you, no matter what. But you don’t have to actively participate in the lifestyle.”
And just like that, all of Jared’s fantasies went icy cold. He gave a short, ugly laugh. “Okay, first off,” he leaned forward, his voice low and hard, “we prefer the term ‘magus’. Thaumaturgist is so clinical and scientific. And I don’t even wanna know what slur you were planning on calling me if thaumaturgist is the politest term you could come up with. Secondly; let me guess? Church of the Holy Fire, right? You think I’m in league with the devil. You think that the Burning Times were justified and not a goddamn holocaust, and deep down you think that I should be burnt at the stake. Am I right?”
“No!” Jensen’s response was immediate and heartfelt. “No. I mean, I was brought up in The Church of the Holy Fire. And my family is, uh, pretty devout. But, uh, I just…your life would be so much easier if you would just act normal, you know? Not flout your magic.”
Jared started gathering his books and packing them into his backpack. “I am normal, Jensen. I’m a perfectly normal magus. And practicing magic is a perfectly normal activity for a magus. Also?” he shouldered his backpack. “Fuck you.”
He strode toward the door, letting his anger and his long legs carry him quickly to the exit. It wasn’t the first time he’d had to deal with prejudice and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but it never got any easier and it never stopped hurting. He was almost at the door when an outraged shout had him spinning around defensively.
Jensen was rapidly closing the distance between them, his face twisted with fury. “What the Hell did you do to me, you Goddamn witch!”
Jared drew himself up to his full height and faced him down. “I didn’t do anything,” he said calmly.
The librarian frowned at them from behind her desk and made a loud shushing noise.
Jensen grabbed ahold of Jared’s arm and dragged him out into the hallway. “Like Hell, you didn’t,” he hissed from between clenched teeth. “You bewitched me.”
Jared shook Jensen off and then ran a tired hand across his forehead. “Okay. How about you just explain to me what it is you think I’ve done?”
Jensen sneered at him. “Like you don’t know!”
Jared stared at him and then shook his head, turned his back and strode down the hall toward the building’s exit.
Jensen hurried after him. “Don’t you walk away from me! Seriously, Jared,” his voice lowered plaintively, “it hurts when you do.”
And that brought Jared crashing to a standstill. “What?” he turned slowly and ran his eyes carefully over Jensen. “What do you mean?”
Jensen rubbed at the back of his neck and averted his eyes. “It hurts. Like I’m being stretched on the rack or something,” he chewed on his bottom lip. “And I’m sorry, okay. I didn’t mean to call you…what I called you. I just…panicked.”
Jared nodded, eyes roving over Jensen, taking in his very real distress and…uh…oh shit.
“Jensen?” he said faintly. “I’m pretty sure…you didn’t have a tattoo on your neck earlier, did you?”
Jensen shook his head. “The Book of Rules forbids tattoos. Why?”
Jared described the swirling rainbow tattoo that was wrapped around Jensen’s neck and watched as Jensen paled visibly.
“Make it go away,” he pleaded.
When Jared explained that he had no idea how or why it had appeared, Jensen looked skeptical.
“I really don’t,” Jared insisted. “But I do know someone who might.”
It was just his luck, Jensen thought glumly, that the hottest guy he’d met in four years at Stanford, would turn out to be a wi— a magus.
Jensen sighed. The magi only made up about 5% of the population and while Jensen was sure he’d been in their presence during his time in California, he hadn’t actually seen anyone practicing magic for a very long time. And, okay, he didn’t go to those sorts of places; didn’t go to the clubs and bars where the magi hung out, but he’d really thought that he’d outgrown his parents’ prejudices; that he was liberated and cosmopolitan.
Jensen sighed again and appreciated the nice view he had of Jared’s ass. The magus was a good five steps ahead of him and, really, Jensen didn’t blame him at all for wanting to keep some distance between them. All it had taken was for Jared’s magic to swirl around Jensen’s head and he was a terrified six-year-old again, listening to Pastor Roberts thunder on about witchcraft and the devil, praising Malleus Maleficarum and the righteousness of the Salem witch trials and the Spanish inquisition. And then… that God awful pulling, burning sensation when Jared had walked away. Jensen had panicked, maybe understandably, but he wasn’t proud of himself.
Why did Jared have to have such long legs? He was really striding ahead now and Jensen was struggling to keep up with him. Whenever Jensen lagged too far behind—like more than about seven steps— his entire body started to ache.
Jared rounded a corner and the moment he could no longer see him, Jensen spasmed in agony. He felt like chewing gum, stretched until he began to break apart and the pain made him sob.
“Jensen!” the pain began to fade rapidly. Jensen was sprawled on the ground and Jared was holding him by the shoulders. “Shit, Jensen. Are you okay?”
Jensen pulled himself into a sitting position. “Better now you’re here,” he said, trying really hard not to feel self-conscious about that fact. “Whatever’s going on, it didn’t like it when you went around the corner and I couldn’t see you.”
Jared was staring down at him with genuine concern, his eyes wide and soulful and his brow furrowed. Jensen flushed a little under the scrutiny. It was sort of nice. He could definitely get used to it.
Jared helped him to his feet and then stuck right by his side. Jensen could feel him radiating tension as they continued, shoulder to shoulder, down the corridor.
“You know this isn’t something I’m doing deliberately, right?” Jared said eventually. “I would never hurt another person like this on purpose.”
“I know,” Jensen said. And he did. He may have only known him for fifteen minutes or so, but Jared came across as a genuine, likeable person. Jensen didn’t think he had it in him to be needlessly cruel.
“So,” Jensen cleared his throat. “Where are we going, anyway? You said you thought you knew someone who could help us figure out what’s going on?”
“Yeah. Professor Morgan, my Thaumaturgy lecturer. If anyone’s gonna know, it’s gonna be him.”
Jensen nodded. “Is he a…you know?”
Jared tensed beside him. “A magus? Yeah, he is. I thought that was pretty well known.”
Jensen rubbed at the back of his neck. “I stay away from that sort of stuff,” he stopped walking suddenly and grabbed at Jared’s sleeve to hold him back. “I’m not prejudiced,” he said. “I don’t care if some people have magic. It’s just that so many people do care and you guys can save the world so much trauma by just not practicing your magic and—” Jensen caught sight of the expression on Jared’s face and his words dried up.
Jared’s eyes were tight and his lips were stretched thin. Jensen watched as the magus took a very obvious deep breath, and then Jared fixed him with a firm, steely-eyed expression. “Okay, first? So long as what a magus does doesn’t impact another person in an unwanted way, then what right does any other person have to try to control the magus’s behavior?” Jensen opened his mouth to reply, but Jared cut him off with a gesture. “No, listen,” he said. “I don’t especially like people playing Frisbee in the park, but so long as they don’t throw the damn thing at me, what right do I have to dictate what they can and can’t do? And don’t give me that ‘it’s unnatural’ bullshit. Cars and airplanes are unnatural, but I don’t see your stupid Church speaking out against Boeing or Chevrolet. Besides, it’s not unnatural. For me, for any magi, magic is natural. Secondly; don’t kid yourself, Jensen. Prejudice against the magi is systemic and you’ve bought into that without question; you’re so busy congratulating yourself on you personally not being overtly prejudiced—although frankly, even that’s questionable—that you can’t even see the oppressive framework around you. So next time you’re about to blurt out some bullshit about how the magi are responsible for other’s people’s shitty attitudes, stop; think; and maybe try shutting the hell up instead?”
Jensen nodded. “Okay,” he said. “Sorry. But you have to admit that the, uh, magi have the potential to be dangerous.”
Jared sighed. “That’s cuz they’re human, Jensen. Humans can be dangerous, whether the weapon at their disposal is a gun, a knife, a knowledge of martial arts, a bomb or magic; it’s the being human part that makes them dangerous. Guns kill a lot more people every year than magic does and your Church is a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms.”
It all sounded so clear and simple when Jared said it, but Jensen knew that his mom would’ve had an answer for all his arguments. Jensen frowned and wondered why he was even trying to defend the attitudes of the Church of the Holy Fire.
“They’re not my Church,” he told Jared. “Not any more. I don’t really agree with them on, well, most things. But, uh… it’s hard to, you know, some of it is just so ingrained, it’s like an automatic response. I’m sorry. And I’m just gonna apologize in advance for anything offensive I might say. Feel free to call me on it.”
Jared stared at him and then nodded. “Oh, I will,” he said.
They continued down the corridor and Jensen tried not to think about the dull ache, deep in his bones. It had gone away completely when Jared had been touching him, which was only making him notice it all the more now.
“What is it?” Jared said.
Jensen side-eyed him with a frown. “Huh?”
“I can practically hear you thinking, man. What’s up?”
Jensen stopped walking again. “You can hear… You can read my mind?”
Jared chuckled darkly. “Wow. They really did a number on you, didn’t they? That whole thing about the magi being mind-readers was pretty thoroughly debunked decades ago.”
Jensen knew that. He also knew that his old Church maintained that the magi involved in the experiments had bewitched the researchers, so no-one should believe a word the researchers said. Jensen knew how paranoid that sounded, though. It was one of the many things the Church said that Jensen didn’t believe. And now he just felt stupid all over again for even bringing it up.
“It’s okay,” Jared said as they started walking again. “It was a pretty entrenched myth. You don’t need to feel stupid.”
Jensen gaped at him. “See that? Not helping me believe you can’t read my mind! How did you know I was feeling stupid?”
Jared laughed again, this time sounding much lighter. “Well who wouldn’t be feeling stupid after accusing me of mind reading?” he nudged Jensen’s shoulder with his own. “But, there’s a grain of truth in all myths and this one’s no different. The magi are super sensitive to emotions. We can’t tell what you’re thinking, but we can tell what you’re feeling. And sometimes that’s enough to make an educated guess as to what you’re thinking.”
Jensen side-eyed his companion again. “You can tell what I’m feeling?”
Jared nodded. “Unless I deliberately take a closer look, which I would never do without permission, I can only sense the really strong emotions that are sort of,” he waved his hands effusively, “sort of leaking out.”
“Right,” Jensen said faintly. “So am I, uh, leaking emotions right now?”
Jared looked right at him for a moment and then shrugged. “I’m picking up fear, embarrassment and curiosity,” he inclined his head to one side. “Curiosity seems to be a pretty strong trait in you. You’re a questioner. I bet that didn’t go down well in a devout Holy Fire household.”
“Yeah, well. I learnt to keep my questions to myself,” Jensen said. “It’s easier to stop people from trying to control what you think if they don’t know what you think. Hey listen, this is gonna sound weird, but, uh, do you think we could hold hands? It’s just that it hurts less when we’re actually touching.”
Jared reached out immediately and took his hand and it was as if a calming balm had soothed his soul.
“I thought it only hurt if you couldn’t see me?” Jared said, his tone colored with worry.
Jensen shook his head. “It’s only agony when I can’t see you. It sort of aches all the time, unless you’re actually touching me. The further away you get, the more it hurts.”
“Shit,” Jared said, and increased the pace of his strides, practically dragging Jensen along the corridor behind him, until he got to an office with Prof. J.D. Morgan, ThD inscribed on the door.
Jared knocked on it and then pushed it open, calling out, “Professor Morgan, Sir? I’ve got a magical emergency.”
Jensen wasn’t sure quite what he was expecting—perhaps a grey-bearded old man in brightly colored robes and a pointed hat—but he certainly wasn’t expecting the man who pushed back from his desk and stood to greet them.
Professor Morgan—or Jeff as he introduced himself when he shook Jensen’s hand—couldn’t have been much more than a decade older than Jensen himself. He was ruggedly handsome with messy dark hair, not quite enough facial hair to be a beard, and dark bedroom eyes. In short, he was Jensen’s type and Jensen was a little surprised that while he could appreciate the aesthetics, he didn’t feel any kind of attraction toward the man.
“So what’s the…” Jeff caught sight of the colored skin twisting around Jensen’s neck and his eyes widened. “Holy shit,” he said. “Gen!”
Before Jensen could wonder why Jeff had just shouted a shortened version of his name, a young, dark-haired woman appeared from behind Professor Morgan’s desk, where she’d apparently been hiding.
Jared gasped, the girl raised her chin defiantly and Professor Morgan smiled sheepishly at Jensen and shrugged. “My TA, Genevieve,” he explained, before turning to the girl. “Come and look at this, Gen. I think it’s the mark of nasc anam.”
“Looks like it,” Gen said. “We’ve got a book on it out back. I’ll go and get it.”
“Thank you,” Professor Morgan said to her retreating back. He turned back to Jared and Jensen with a bright smile. “I’ve never seen the mark in the flesh before. It’s incredibly rare,” he turned back to Jensen. “So is Jared the lucky magus?”
Jensen blinked, then frowned and glanced at Jared.
“Hey, whoa,” Jared said. “Back up a little. What the heck is a nasc anam? What’s going on?”
Professor Morgan decided that they needed to be sitting down for the rest of the conversation and there was a pause while they pulled out and arranged chairs. When they were seated in a semi-circle, Jeff cleared his throat and steepled his hands underneath his chin. “Okay, in short, the nasc anam is a soul to soul connection between a magus and a mundane,” he looked across at Jensen. “A mundane is what we magi call you folk who don’t have any magic in ‘em. Now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with those conspiracy theories that the magi can bewitch someone into falling in love with them?” he moved his hands to his lap and looked expectantly at Jensen, so he nodded. “Well those can be traced back to the very real occurrence of the nasc anam. Essentially, what happens is that a magus’s soul reacts so strongly to the soul of a mundane that his or her magic reaches out and connects to that soul, creating a powerful link between them.”
“Oh Goddess,” Jared said. “Jensen, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, I—”
“Well of course you didn’t,” Jeff interrupted sharply. “It’s completely beyond anyone’s control. Your magic recognized your soulmate and the connection was forged, without you consciously knowing a thing about it.”
Jensen’s blood ran cold. Soulmate? He couldn’t… Jared was hot and he seemed like a really nice person, but Jensen hardly knew him. And besides his mama would have an absolute fit if he started dating a magus. There had to be some mistake.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Jensen held a hand up. “Soulmate? You don’t mean… as in… soulmate?”
Professor Morgan met Jensen’s eyes. “Yes. Soulmate. As in 100% compatible, destined to be together forever. Soulmate.”
Jensen shook his head. “Yeah, no. See, I can’t date Jared,” he turned to Jared. “It’s not that there’s anything wrong with you; you seem pretty awesome, it’s just… my family.”
Jared started to say that he understood, no hard feelings, but Professor Morgan interrupted to tell Jensen that he didn’t actually have a choice.
Jensen pushed up from his seat, a fine tremor running through his body. “Of course I have a choice!” he said, his tone a little more shrill than he would’ve liked. “You can’t make me date somebody; Jared can’t force me to be his boyfriend.”
“What he said,” Jared was on his feet beside Jensen and Jensen suddenly felt so much better about everything. “There is no way,” Jared said, “that I would ever use my magic to coerce somebody into something they didn’t want!”
“It’s not like that, doofus,” said Gen, returning from out the back with a huge, old, leather-bound book in her hands. She gave the book to Professor Morgan, bookmarked open at a page on which there was a drawing that exactly matched the mark on Jensen’s neck.
“Gen’s right,” Professor Morgan said absently, eyes skimming over the text beside the picture. “Jensen, you’ve probably been feeling some discomfort whenever you’re too far away from Jared?” he glanced across at Jensen, who nodded. “That’s known as theag fulaingt and it will continue,” Professor Morgan said, “until the connection is either fully established or until it is severed.”
Jensen didn’t quite see what the problem was. “Okay,” he said, “so let’s sever it.”
Professor Morgan grimaced. “The only way to sever the nasc anam is for one of you to die.”
“Awesome,” Jared said darkly. “Your family’s gonna want me burnt at the stake.”
Professor Morgan frowned and Jared inclined his head toward Jensen and said, “Church of the Holy Fire.”
“Douchebags,” Gen spat.
“I’m not a part of that anymore,” Jensen said. “But my family…”
He reached out and took hold of Jared’s hand, reveling in the instant soothing calmness that cocooned him. “You’re right. My family could use this to cause problems.”
Professor Morgan cleared his throat. “The nasc anam was one of the major factors behind The Burning Times,” he said. “When the global population was smaller, magi finding their soulmates was a lot more common. In England, in 1441, the Duchess of Gloucester developed the mark of nasc anam after meeting a street magician. Her husband, the Duke wasn’t too pleased by this and he had the magus accused of bewitching his wife, so that he could have him executed and break the bond.”
Jensen couldn’t help shuddering at how cold and heartless that sounded and he said as much to Professor Morgan.
Morgan nodded. “It happened more than once, sometimes to protect an existing marriage, sometimes to stop a soul bond from getting in the way of a potential, more politically advantageous marriage. Of course, in the court cases a lot of fuss was made about poor innocent people being bewitched into lewd acts by witchcraft and the accusers more mercenary motives for wanting the magus dead weren’t ever mentioned.”
Jensen pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Obviously we don’t have to worry about Jared getting executed in this day and age, but, uh, I guess my parents could still try to make trouble.”
“How about you don’t tell them about all this?” Gen suggested with a roll of her eyes.
And that wasn’t actually a bad idea, although his mama was going to notice pretty quickly if he couldn’t stray more than a few steps away from his boyfriend without doubling up in pain. Not to mention the big colorful mark he now sported around his neck.
“You mentioned that the connection needs to become fully established,” Jared said, almost as if he’d just picked up on Jensen’s thoughts. “What does that involve?”
Professor Morgan’s eyes lit up. “Ah,” he said. “Well, uh, it’s a, uh,”
“You fuck,” Gen said bluntly.
Morgan frowned at her. “They make love,” he corrected. Gen shrugged. “And once you’ve solidified the bond then you’ll be fine to spend long periods of time apart, although you will still need to, uh, come together periodically to, uh, refresh the bond.”
Jensen snuck a quick sideways look at Jared. He could live with that. He could take Jared back to his apartment, fuck him, and then they could go their separate ways for a few months or however long it was until the bond needed to be satiated again. This was workable.
“Okay,” he turned to Jared with a shrug. “Sure. Why not.”
Jared gaped at him. “You want a relationship?”
Jensen frowned. “A relationship? He didn’t say we had to have a relationship; just that we had to fuck.”
Jared folded his arms across his chest. “Yeah. See, that doesn’t work for me. I’m not a casual sex kind of guy.”
Easy for Jared to say, Jensen scowled at the floor. He wasn’t the one who ended up in agony if his soulmate walked around a corner.
“Okay,” he said, striving for polite and falling short by quite a few yards. “Well what do you suggest then, magus? Because we’ve both got exams in a week and I don’t know about you, but I could really do without having to explain to the dean why I have to do them with you holding my hand!”
They glared at each other for a moment and then Jared deflated and ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know, okay? I don’t know what we should do.”
Gen sighed noisily. “Lord and Lady save me from stupid, stupid boys,” she said.
“You have an idea?” Jared said hopefully.
“Yeah,” Gen nodded. “Spend the week together. Get to know each other. You’re meant to be soulmates, right? Chances are you’re gonna be perfect for each other.”
Jared looked Jensen up and down carefully. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “That, I can do.”