Jared is organizing a pile of Call of Duty video games when Chad slaps his shoulder and squeaks something that resembles, "Whoa, my gay-dar is going crazy!"
Jared mostly ignores Chad. Yes, Chad has been his best friend since they were nine years old, his best mate while playing World of Warcraft and Xbox, his right hand when they dress up for ComiCon (where they’d go every year role-playing Marvel heroes)... apart from all of that, Jared tends to ignore Chad when he is babbling about gay-dars.
"Look at that !" Chad never falters, anyway. He never takes personally Jared's attempts to focus on anything other than his friend - in this case, his job. -
"Don't drool on my shirt," Jared murmurs and shrugs Chad off.
"No-no, Jay-man! Look at him !" Chad forces him to turn around, tugging his shirt and poking at his ribs. "Look, look!" He literally bounces - like that one time when they were in line for George Lucas' autograph in San Diego - but there, in the Buy More? This is definitely more embarrassing. Though, not as embarrassing as the chick-squeak that escapes from Jared’s mouth when he finally looks up and spots the source of the commotion.
"Oh boy." Jared’s mouth is agape. He’s openly staring but he can’t help it.
There, at front of the counter of the Nerd Herd division is the most gorgeous guy Jared has ever seen. He is dressed with a simple shirt and pair of jeans, but, damn, he looks amazing. Gorgeous Guy is looking around, probably trying to spot a sales assistant, and for a moment their eyes meet.
Jared looks down quickly, focusing on the brown stain on the floor. God. Jared is in the middle of the store where he works, ogling some strange guy and almost popping a boner. Very, very embarrassing, almost Chad-embarrassing.
"I'm going to rock his world, Jay!" Or maybe not.
By the time he registers what Chad’s said, or that he left for the Nerd Herd Counter, Chad is already harassing Gorgeous Guy. Once his senses return, Jared panics but he watches and immediately feels sorry for the poor guy as he looks at his best friend making his usual first impression.
"What's up, sexy?" Jared hears Chad ask in his smoothest, not-stalker-at-all, leering way. "Looking for some action? My break is in five."
Jared catches up to them before Chad can embarrass himself even more. He places both his hands on his friend's shoulders and looks at Gorgeous Guy. "Excuse me a moment, " then shoves his friend aside. Chad stumbles off and Jared never takes his eyes off Gorgeous. "I'm really sorry -- He's -- He's new," then he turns his attention to Chad. "The assistant manager is looking for you. Better find him soon. Bye."
Chad is ready to argue, but luckily the assistant manager passes in the hallway, scanning the staff, so he hides behind the nearest shelf and tries to sneak away. Jared doesn't want to know what his friend has done lately.
Gorgeous Guy smiles, tilts his head to the side. "Thanks for that, man."
Jared tugs at his green polo, part of the Buy More uniform, trying to look as smart as possible, even though he’s a little more than a normal sale schmuck who works in big-box, retail, electronics store. "You looked uncomfortable," Jared explains. "Chad can be -- overwhelming, sometimes."
Gorgeous Guy grins, amused. "Yeah, I can relate."
"He's harmless, anyway," Jared adds. Chad is still his best friend. "Can-- Can I help you?"
Gorgeous Guy motions at his iPhone, sheepishly. "I lost my charger and I need another one urgently. Do you know where I can find one?"
"Sure! I'll -- I'll lead the way." He motions him to follow him into the IT department. He should just point him where they keep the Apple accessories, or maybe just leave him with one of his colleagues of the Nerd Herd division and get back to fix piles of videogames. He should. But Gorgeous Guy is gorgeous and even if Jared is goofy and cannot flirt for shit, he can always take a good look at him. And okay, if Gorgeous Guy stumbles into one of the Nerd Herds, he'll probably run out of the building or sue the Buy More for sexual harassment, because, yes, Chad is embarrassing, but he has Jared to keep him in line. The Nerd Herds? Lost causes.
Jared tries to think of some witty joke to engage Gorgeous Guy into a conversation, but Chad has the fantastic idea to run to the aisle and knock Gorgeous Guy down in the process. Before he can lose his balance completely, however, Jared grabs him by the shoulders and pulls him against his chest. Gosh , he even smells amazing.
"Harmless?" Gorgeous Guy asks, turning his head a little, looking at Jared over his shoulder.
"Most times," Jared murmurs, dumbstruck and staring because oh… pretty eyes. Green, green eyes. And lots of freckles. He wants to count all of them. Repeatedly.
"Um, " Gorgeous Guy clears his throat softly. "Y-You can let go, now."
Jared lets him go, rubs the back of his neck, mortified. Great. "Sorry."
"That's okay. Thank you, for not letting me fall --" He winks and Jared is about to yell to Chad to run like crazy again so he can act like a hero and have him in his arms. "Jared."
Oh. The nametag.
Jared coughs awkwardly and leads the other man over to the shelf of Apple accessories. "Well, here you are. " He gestured at the fully stocked items. "The charger, you can find it here. There are a lot of them. Pinky or with stripes. Uh. Coloured, I mean. If you want, there are also plain ones." He’s lost his ability to talk properly, between one step and the other.
"Great. I'm Jensen, by the way. In case you were wondering."
Before Jared can find a witty answer or the courage to flirt back, he spots Tom looking at him intently. Oh, crap. Emergency. The bad kind.
"Er, nice to meet you Jensen, but I have to go -- work." Jensen's smile dimms a little, but he still has an amused twinkle in his eyes. This gives Jared the courage to pop the question. "I was wondering if -- I mean-- I can-- ", his voice trails down. You can do it, Jared. "Date? With me? Tomorrow?" Way to go, spaz .
But then Gorgeous Guy - Jensen - smiles oh-so-prettily. "I'd love to."
Jared is whistling when he reaches the Buy More basement. Tom is in front of the multiple flat screens, looking at the information about their new target. Jared sits down, stretches his long legs and crosses his ankles. Perfect, perfect day. Not even a CIA emergency can ruin his good mood.
"Don't get too comfy, Jay. We're heading out as soon as Katie gets here, and it's not pleasant."
"No problem. I can use my new toy," Jared is still stretched out, perfectly happy, but he looks at his right, where they keep the weapons, his hand itching to close on the barrel of his new MI5.
Tom snorts. "Gun-freak."
Jared is late and it's all Chad's fault. He knew that he shouldn't have let his friend brag about the plan for the next attack to Middle Earth while he is trying to dress for the evening. Anyway, now Jared is late by twenty minutes and he is praying in every languages he knows - only English and a little bit of Polish - that Jensen hasn't given up on him.
The luck is with him tonight, because he immediately spots Jensen as soon as he steps into the steak house: he is fiddling with his napkin in one hand, while he clutches his cell in the other, eyes down-cast, obviously texting. He’s so focused on his iPhone that he doesn't notice Jared stumbling and crashing against one of the other customers.
Jared mumbles a sorry, before heading to Jensen with a big smile, trying to fix his shirt and tussled his hair.
The other man looks up and smile, he sits straighter, putting aside his mobile. "Hey! Did you run from your house to here?"
"Kinda. I was late. I am late. Sorry."
Jensen checks his watch and he looks apologetically, as if he hadn't noticed. "Don't worry. I didn't think for a second you’d stood me up."
Jared feels instantly better. He sits down, smiling widely. "That's good. Not in my character, anyway. I wouldn't have stood you up for anything."
"Good to know."
They smile at each other for a couple of minutes, until Jensen motions to the menu. Jared still looks at the other, though, and it’s a good thing that he's a regular here, because he didn't read a single item on the menu before ordering.
It turns out that Jensen is pretty much perfect. He has a great sense of humor; he’s sweet, confident, loves animals. And he’s smart, plays lacrosse and comes from Texas like Jared.
An hour and a half later, Jared is in love. No doubt. All he wants to do is lean towards Jensen, kiss him and hug him and never let go. That's kind of his problem: Jared is a hopeless romantic. He tends to fall hard and fast and at first sight and the result is never a happy end. It's not just his real job - being a sniper in the CIA Special Forces implies that Jared is on call 24/7 - but also his cover job as employee of an average Buy More in LA. People like people that are successful in life, not people that are satisfied with an eight bucks an hour job and disappear most of the day, missing calls, dinners and anniversaries.
Jensen doesn't seem to mind. He jokes about Jared being able to buy as many appliances and electronic accessories as he wants at half price for his friends and family and doesn't ask if Jared has other, more ambitious, plans in mind. He confesses he is an IT programmer for an accountancy firm and he doesn't even get the dental coverage. Jared laughs, and then he says something awkward like 'your teeth are sparkling' and Jensen laughs too. He doesn't seem to mind Jared's awkwardness.
They split the bill and head out, walking and talking about sports and tv and music and damn, Jared doesn't want to call it a night. Unfortunately the clock ticks and Jared is standing outside Jensen's building.
"I want to see you again," Jared breaths out, trying not to appear too clingy.
"I want that too," the other man admits, then, with determination, he puts a hand against Jared's chest, invading his personal space. He kisses Jared's cheek, almost at the angle of his lips, and looks up, slightly flushed. "Good night, Jared."
Jared is too stunned to reply with words. Jensen's hand is emanating warmth against his skin, even if it's over his shirt, his heart is beating funny, not mentioning all the things Jensen's kiss is doing to his self-control. He catches Jensen's retreat by sliding an arm around his waist, pulling him closer and forgetting about his awkwardness for a moment. Jensen looks up, his cheeks pink, and Jared kisses him full on the lips, softly. He hears Jensen whimpering, before he relaxes and reciprocates the kiss. It's sweet and tender and Jared nearly bursts with happiness. Jensen fits perfectly in his arms and Jared never wants to let him go.
When they pull apart, Jared is smiling like a loon and Jensen seems dazed. Jared is about to kiss him again, this time more firmly, but his pocket vibrates and he's forced to take out his mobile. Chad's name flashes on the screen along with their picture together. Great.
"Have u banged him yet? ;) Details!"
Jared groans. The moment is over, though, and Jensen is moving away. Jared watches him go inside, leaving him alone on the sidewalk.
"Come on, Jay-man!" Chad pats at his shoulder and laughs loudly. "You didn't fuck him? What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Maybe because he's not a man-whore like you," Katie interjects, sounding bored. She is leaning on the Nerd Herd counter, attracting all the attention from customers and other employees, like always. Her Nerd Herd uniform - white shirt and short black skirt - makes her look so hot that people always wonder why she is working in a Buy More, when she can easily be a super-model. No-one knows that it's just her cover and she is one of the best (and most lethal) secret agents in the CIA. "When are you seeing him again?"
"We didn't plan anything," Jared admits. He was so stunned by the kiss and Chad's interruption that he didn't ask Jensen details for another date. He didn't even ask his number, which is the worst first date move ever.
"You know his address! Why don't go there and ask him? I'll cover for you here!"
"Jensen has a life, you know. He's probably working now, unlike certain people I know," Katie looks pointedly at Chad, "who look for sit around and do nothing." She has never liked Chad and tact is not her best trait, then turns her attention to Jared. "You should go after work, Jared, or you'll drive us all crazy. This place is awful enough without you moping around like a kicked puppy."
Chad points a finger against Jared's chest. "You cannot let him go, Jared! He's too gorgeous! You have to take him on the best, kinkiest and dirtiest ride of his life!"
"Where do you want to take me?"
Jared turns around so fast that his head is spinning. His face flushes with embarrassment; it’s Jensen, standing right in front of him. "Jens -- Jensen. Hi." He hears Katie snorts in disgust at his lovesick voice. "I was -- I mean, I -- Hi."
Jensen smiles and maybe it's not that bad. Maybe he didn't catch Chad's obscene comment or he didn't take it into consideration. "Hi, Jared. We didn't exchange numbers yesterday, so I thought --"
"Thank God!" Katie moves and introduces herself. "Katie. You saved me from a day of endless torture."
Jensen seems wary. "You're -- welcome. I guess."
"Moping Jared is far worse than a day in Iranian prisons. Trust me." She blinks, deadly serious. "No, really, trust me."
"Don't listen to her!" Chad pushes her aside and wiggles his eyebrows. "I'm Chad, Jared's best friend. We're open to threesomes. Anytime."
"No, we are not," Jared slides an arm around Jensen's waist, dragging him away from them. "Sorry for that. I'm -- my friends are --"
Jensen seems more comfortable now and doesn't move away from Jared's intimate gesture. "We all have our embarrassing friends."
Jared is standing in front of the most perfect, awesome man ever . "I'm really glad you're here." They are standing near the break room, the sound of laughs loud enough to come from the closed door, but all Jared can think is how he can be so screwed up after just one date. Okay, one date with the most perfect, awesome man ever . Still. This is kind of a record for him.
"Are you free tomorrow night? There is a new Chinese restaurant near my house I want to try, maybe we can catch a movie afterwards? The latest Marvel movie is coming out today."
Jared has an entire shelf of his house full of Marvel comics, along with Captain America 's action figure on his nightstand, despite his sister's attempts to get rid of it all. "Yes, sure. I love Chinese." The most perfect, awesome man ever.
Since last time Jared was late, for this second date he arrived in front of the restaurant ten minutes early. When the hour comes and passes, Jared is still looking around, trying to spot Jensen in every directions, not slightly worried. It's fine, Jensen can be late and Jared has every intentions of waiting for him for as long as it takes.
The time ticks away and now Jensen is officially two hours late. Jared is slumped against the wall of the restaurant, frowning at his cellphone as Jensen is not answering any of his texts.
It's Katie who calls him, instead, demanding his presence to their secret headquarter under the Buy More. With regret, Jared sends one last text to Jensen: "Need to call off. Call u 2morrow."
The air is tense as Tom and Katie welcome Jared. Tom is dressed in casual clothes and he admits he was out bowling with some of friends, while Katie is making fun of Jared for his blown up date with Gorgeous Guy.
"His name is Jensen," he remarks. He's not in the mood for mocking, not considering that maybe Jensen showed up when he was already gone. "He didn't show up."
"Chad probably scared him to death yesterday. You should change friends or you'll never get laid."
"Jensen organized the second date and Chad is okay. Sometimes." He fidgets in his chair, eager to change the topic. "Do we know why we're here?"
"Something big," answers Tom. "Before you came Captain Morgan said that one of ours is being abducted. He's sending intel."
"Nasty," Katie straightens in her chair. "Who did it? Russians?"
"No, it's a small terrorist cell," Tom hooks up the monitors. The information pops on the screens, with all the details, but it's the intel about the kidnapped agent that Jared is staring with wide, disbelieving eyes.
Agent Jensen Ross Ackles. Computer analyst for the CIA. Sent to LA from Langley to check the security of the three black-ops divisions, included Jared's. Kidnapped at 6.30pm.
Jared's hands are shaking when he finishes reading Jensen's - agent Ackles' - file. He’d only known Jensen for a little more than three days, but Jared also knew that the moment they started talking he’d fallen hopelessly in love with him. Since then, the worst scenario he could imagine, had been Jensen dumping him because Jared was always ditching dates and dinners due to 'work emergencies', secrets that he could not confess to him. When they’d kissed, Jared really hoped there was something there for him, something more than the mediocrity of his dull Buy More life and less threatening in his CIA second life. Some balance.
Jared got recruited his freshman year at Stanford and after years in SWAT, Captain Jeff asked him to transfer to a black-ops division in LA. There he’d been assigned an undercover gig as a Buy More employee in one of the few CIA controlled companies along the West Coast. The Buy More basement was, in a word, impressive. To this day, it houses an underground labyrinth of interrogation offices, training facilities and short-stay prison cells. Slightly smaller than a football field, the underground elite facility is divided into sectors, from A1 to A10, with small groups of agents - no more than seven -, that are working on different projects but all responding to Captain Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Jared's work didn't offer much the chance at social life, much less dating opportunities, until Jensen arrived in his life. He's not mad at him for not revealing his identity as a CIA agent, because, hell, he knows well how all of them are bound to secrecy, still, he doesn't know how to take this news. His heart really wants to believe that Jensen really likes him and that accepting Jared’s date invitation hadn't been part of his mission.
Anyway, this is not the time for 'Moping-Jared', as Katie put it in the van. Jared has to agree: Jensen has been kidnapped by terrorists and what he needs is not frustrated suitor, 'emo-Jared', but rather, kick-ass 'Lethal weapon-Jared'. It's not hard to get into the character when he thinks about Jensen's smile and the way he kissed him just two days ago. There is no way Jared will let anything bad happen to Jensen.
Jared gets a sense for just how important Jensen is to someone else too when Jared's team is conjoined with another team, but he's so worried about Jensen's safety that he barely registers their names, only their mission assigned code-names. Jared does register in a fit of rage that they were apparently part responsible for Jensen's kidnapping in the first place; one of them had carelessly used an unsecured channel and aired information about the terrorist cell. Then, as Jensen covered the leak, the cell was able to intercept and capture him at his current location.
The time of the kidnapping is dancing in front of Jared's eyes; 6.30 pm. Jensen had been exiting his apartment, on his way to the Chinese restaurant and to Jared. Damn, if Jared had offered to pick Jensen up, none of this would have happened.
"It's not your fault," Tom assures as he put his vest on. He eyed Jared carefully during the drive from headquarters to the building where intel has pinpointed as the location where Jensen is being held.
Tom’s attempt to sooth goes unanswered. Jared merely clenches his jaw and tightens his grip on his submachine gun; that should be answer enough for the team leader. The other team follows in another van; Tom was probably worried that Jared would flip when he met the one responsible for Jensen's kidnapping. It was a wise move.
Katie kicks Jared’s foot to draw his attention. "Try not to kill any of our agents, Jared," she adds, but without heat. She hates incompetency, especially from her fellows colleagues and since that was the cause of a kidnapping, Katie is particularly annoyed.
Jared is not so sure of his self-control. Jensen may already have suffered unspeakable tortures in the last past several hours since his kidnapping and while Jared had been waiting in relative comfort for him to arrive. "I'll try."
It happens very quickly. They hadn’t been joking when they said that the terrorist cell was small: Tom co-ordinates the assault, Jared takes out two sentinels and in five minutes they were all in the building. Seven very pissed agents meet only a slight resistance, and everything’s going smoothly, that is until they arrived to a rudimentary interrogation room. It’s here where Jared sees torture tools scattered on the floor and a body slumped against a wall, his back facing them and Jared’s about to lose it.
Without a second hesitation, Katie kneels and rolls the body and, before she can say something like 'oops, dead boyfriend', a rustle makes Jared turn to the left. Index finger tightening the trigger, prepared to issue a lethal blow but what he sees stops him cold. It’s Jensen with a bloody lip and a black eye and he’s breathing and blinking back at Jared and he’s not moving; someone behind him has the barrel of a gun aimed at Jensen’s temple.
Jensen looks horrible but right now he’s the best thing Jared’s seen in like, ever. "Jared," he says, voice scratchy and wounded.
Everything after that happens so fast. Right hand still clutching his firearm, finger still on the trigger, Jared snatches lightening quick. When his hand closes on a handful of Jensen’s shirt, he yanks. Hard.
Jensen falls forward, landing against Jared’s side and in that same instant Jared fires. The threat to Jensen is neutralized and the guy who’d been threatening to Jensen crumples to the floor. Dead.
Neither of them moves. They just stand there, jensen clutchted tight to his side. Jared staring at the dead body of the man who’d nearly killed the man he loves right in front of his eyes. It’s not until he gets the all clear from Tom, that he looks down at Jensen, still pressed against him.
"That was a hell of a second date," Jensen whispers playfully and if his lip wasn't still bleeding, Jared would kiss him senseless. Instead, he keeps his arm around Jensen's waist, trying to calm his nerves down.
"You don't say," comments Katie, reaching them with a satisfied glint in her eyes, but Jared nearly doesn't catch her sarcasm, he keeps Jensen close, repeating "you're okay. You're okay," not at all caring what people around him might say.
It turns out that Jensen escaped his torturer before the idiot even got started. He was about to escape from the room, armed only with the stolen gun, when he heard the noises and hide behind a wall, that's where he got caught by the terrorist and used like a human shield. That's what he said to Tom, when the paramedics finished checking his wounds, with Jared stubbornly eying him like a hawk, worried that something would happen.
When Tom walks away, Jared faces Jensen, looking concerned. The paramedics said that Jensen the injuries were superficial and that Jensen needs just rest, but Jared is reluctant to let him out of sight. "Come to my place," Jensen proposes and he quickly nods.
The drive takes only fifteen minutes but it’s nothing but dead silence. Tom drops them off at Jensen's place with the recommendation to present themselves at the Buy More the morning after for a full report. When they're at the apartment, it's Jensen who speaks first, eyes down. "Sorry for not telling you."
"You knew who I was," replies Jared calmly.
"Yeah, I studied your file before approaching the Buy More. I placed a bug in the shelves before making my way towards the Nerd Herd's counter and well, your friend Chad stopped me, then, you came and --" He blushes beautifully and Jared takes a step towards him.
"It wasn't planned."
"Of course not, can you imagine the faces of our superiors as one agent asks the other out? Everything under cover?" Jensen smiles, still shyly. "I was planning to tell you the truth at the end of my assignment. I liked you at first sight."
"Likewise," Jared chokes out; understatement of the year. He reaches out and pulls Jensen close, careful not to squeeze too much and cause harm to Jensen's stomach, where’d been punched earlier. "I'm in love with you."
Jensen blinks at the confession, stunned, but then he smiles, stepping deeper into the embrace with a happy expression. "You tellin’ me that fiercest sniper in CIA history is a teddy bear inside?" He doesn't comment at the rushed declaration of love - not even a second date, jeez, Jared is really giving his best -.
"Spot on," and Jared kisses him before Jensen can add anything else. He licks at Jensen's lips, carefully, but when the other opens his mouth and tips his lips with his tongue Jared loses what little self-control he has and devours him with a more enthusiastic kiss, moaning when Jensen presses tighter against him. He growls when Jensen slided his hands into the nest of his hair, and their erections still restricted in their pants brush together.
They pull away, still an inch from each other lips, and Jared knows he has the most lovesick expression ever, but he has Jensen in his arms, and they are sharing the same, big secret, only, not from each other, which is more than Jared has ever imagined.
"I'm not putting out on the second date, much less after a kidnapping," murmurs Jensen and Jared laughs. "Dinner and movie. And some making out on the couch?"
It's hours later, when Jared had Jensen nestled under his arm, pressed against his side, his plump lips red from far too many kisses that Jared registers his words from hours before.
"Wait, you said that you placed a bug at the Buy More?"
"So this means that --" He blushes, remembering how many times Chad made a fool of himself talking about Jensen's perfect ass or Jared himself, when he mopes around their first date or when Jensen didn't give him his number or when he was day-dreaming the second date.
Jensen laughs, this time. "It means that you are adorable and at the Buy More there's a major security problem." He wiggles closer, draping an arm around Jared's chest. "You need someone to run extensive checkups. Luckily, you'll have a new analyst ready to work with you starting next week. He's one the best, you know, from Langley."
Jared's brain stopped at the 'adorable', but quickly catches the sense of Jensen's sentence. "I cannot wait." The most perfect, awesome man ever.