It isn’t that Jared expects to have both; it’s that he thought that was what they both wanted. He has Sandy at home and Jensen on location. But Jensen has his girl at home too, so it isn’t like Jared is having his cake and eating it too. Not really. If he is, well, it’s not like he’s the only one doing it. Or that’s what he believes at the time. Long days and after hours drinking and Xbox define their relationship; there isn’t room for anyone else.
Between shots they eat apples upon the hood of one of the many impala mock models and once back in the privacy of their trailers Jared tastes it on Jensen’s lips and really, the arrangement isn’t so bad. At least, that’s what he thinks until the season wraps up and instead of heading off in their separate directions, Jensen breaks up with his girlfriend and Jared arrives home to finds him sleeping on his doorstep and –
He never expected to have both and maybe that’s the problem.
Perhaps that’s why things go down like they do.
A few hours later they return to the pattern they set long ago and go off in separate directions. Or rather, Jared goes home to Sandy. Jensen thinks ‘fuck’ and of breaking things, which would be great but he’s long since mastered the skill of passive aggression and really, all those knives fit so much better when they're turned inwards and the ‘fuck’ turns into ‘idiot’ and then his red credit card goes into black when he buys a plane ticket – any ticket – just so he can get the fuck out before any of his friends find out (or find him).
It isn’t until later, much later, that Jared realizes he did expect both.
Ironically, or perhaps narcissistically it's right after Jensen calls him from France to tell him he’s meet someone and they’re getting married. The someone isn’t just an ordinary someone but a ‘Someone’. A someone who’s beautiful and French and female and who pretty clearly isn’t Jared but is Eva Green.
“Where the hell did they even meet?” Jared asks Chris, at the Texas reception.
Knocking back the last of his beer, Chris shrugs. “Who the heck knows?”
Eva – Jensen’s wife – is gloriously beautiful and politely austere. When she and Jared are introduced, she kisses his cheek and he doesn’t give her a bear hug and tell her not to be so formal. She then compliments Sandy on her dress in that same friendly but distantly polite way. All while holding Jensen’s hand with that damned rock catching the light and winking at – mocking – the crowd of well wishers like an omen of what’s to come.
At the end of the day, pleasantly drunk and filled with food they all sit together.
“I can’t believe you married her,” Jared says.
Not affronted, Jensen merely winks. “There was no other option.”
A week later when they return to the set for the next season, they are met by new faces and greet familiar old ones that have been called in for another season of hard work. Time passes. New and old faces blend. Out of them all, Eva’s the only one that always manages to sticks out. She drifts in and out and always back into Vancouver; for success comes easy to her but love has always come even easier. Sometimes the three of them hang out. Sometimes more; Tom loves having another wife around for his to covert with. But Eva is dark eyes and unnerving smiles rather than blonde and cheerful Americana.
“Thanks for dinner,” Jared tells her one night, needing to say something to fill the deadening air.
Jensen, all green eyes and rose cheeks, had excused himself earlier to go to the bathroom. His presence once removed alters the tableau. The gathering – Tom, Jamie, Chad, and Steve – all ring-ins, perhaps, feels it too. Their past experiences with her had been mediated by Jensen. Without him, the atmosphere lacks his certain easy charm and grace. Her austere elegance did little to ease the loss.
“It was delicious,” he adds, feeling the need to add something.
The others mutter similar generic compliments in agreement.
“I like taking care of Jensen,” she tells them. “I want to be a good wife for him.”
The words should sound like they’re straight out of the 1950s, but they don’t. Slipping out of Eva’s wine red mouth they sound anything but. In the artificial light, her pale skin looks translucent. Dark eyes drink them all in. Her beauty at the moment is almost a morbid one. Like a peacock among pigeons, she always sticks out. Jared suddenly feels awkward and uncouth. Like the pauper at the table of his social better, indulged for the sake of civility. No one, not even Chad respond to her comment.
“Do you like her?” Jared asked Tom one night they meet up for drinks.
“Jamie seems too.”
“That’s not what I asked.”
At the sharp tone, Tom bristles. “You’re the one who fucked him over Jared, not me. You should consider yourself lucky that she decided to clean up your mess.”
A month passes, then another and somehow they’re almost finished another season. Right before Thanksgiving, Jared and Sandy get into a huge fight. They scream and swear at each other and at the end of it neither of them is left standing in one piece. At the airport they stand together but don’t hold hands and Jared still can’t figure out what he’s trying to pull. On the plane trip to Texas he reads cheap glossy magazines. One has a picture of Sandy in it. Three have pictures of Eva. One of them is a cover shot and interview job. She speaks about her latest film and her beauty regime. She also calls Jensen her world.
Jared doesn’t know what he expected, but somehow it wasn’t that.
He knows she loves Jensen. He does. Truly. She isn’t heated gazes. She isn’t sweet words and public displays. That always been Sandy’s MO, not Eva’s. Jared knows enough about her to know that. She loves Jensen in long slow looks, and in the smiles that she always manages to steal out of him. Her love isn’t overt or easily perceived from one meeting. It is in the fingers tugging his shirt cuffs right before she kisses him when they think no one is watching and in the strum of his guitar overheard outside locked trailer doors.
“When I saw her,” Jensen tells him and Jeff as they wait for the next scene to be set up. “I felt a sense of relief. I thought to myself, ‘Oh, there she is. What took me so long to find her?’ It was like a homecoming.”
Jensen eyes dance with light. “Yeah.”
Jeff merely laughs and smiles in that all knowing way at the both of them. “Yeah, that’s they way it goes.”
A week later the break is over and Jared is back on set a few pounds heavier and a girlfriend lighter. ‘It’s a mutual break,’ he will tell people over and over again, ‘We haven’t broken up.’ When he tells Jensen, his eyes crease in the corner and his smile fails for a moment. Eva is a constant presence in his life, even though she is often traveling around working. She hugs Jared when she finds out. She pats his hair and holds him tightly. Her ring flashes at him when she pulls away.
Jared begins to hate her more than he should.
When she goes away to film her next project, Jared kisses Jensen outside his door. The same door he found Jensen sleeping against only a few months ago. Jenson gasps in surprise and Jared uses the reaction to lick inside his mouth. Hot, hot heat floods his body as their tongues meet. He had forgotten how good it was. How good Jensen was. Is. His skin is searing and his cheekbone are sharp enough to cut Jared open and it almost feels like they do when he brings his hands up to cradle Jensen’s face.
“No, no, no,” Jensen breathes. “I can’t.”
“Why not?” Jared challenges; hands still touching those high, high cheekbones. “We did it before.”
“I love Eva.”
“I love Sandy too,” he retorts.
Then Jensen looks at him, eyes electric green guilt. “She’s my wife.”
These three words are more than a simple declaration of fact. They are a statement of love and honor, trust and adoration. They are a pronouncement of fidelity and finality. They are a promise made and a promise he intends to keep. They are greater than anything Jared could ever circumvent. They are everything; every part of Jensen that Jared loves but now doesn’t have the right to demand ownership of. Maybe he never had the right.
They break apart.
Jensen backs away and is swallowed by darkness as he sprints towards his home. Jared opens his door, and once inside he locks it. They don’t speak outside work for a week. In that time Eva returns, full of stories and dressed in warm fur. Her presence is a blunt reminder of everything Jared wishes to forget. Time slips out from under him. Soon there are less than a handful of episodes left to film before the fourth season is over and done with. In that time Sandy has put her engagement ring back on and Eva has gotten Jensen to change managers (to hers).
“He’s very good, isn’t he?” she asks him, but doesn’t ask, as they watch Jensen and Jeff do a scene together, because really, everyone with half a brain knew how good Jensen was.
Jared looks at her out of the corner of his eye. “Yeah."
She runs a hand through her dark hair and continues. “He always works so hard, constantly striving for better.”
Then she is silent for a beat.
“I wish more people were like him.”
After the last episode is filmed they all go out afterwards to celebrate. Everyone drinks and eats and forgets about the slipped lines or the fumbled stunts which had stained the last few days and stretched the reshoot budget a little too far. Jared laughs and dances with all of the make up girls, while the producers and director fuss over Jensen, corralling him at the back of the bar to talk shop. Around them, everyone else lets lose. Jared doesn’t notice Eva presence until the end of the night; by that time Jensen is half asleep with his head resting on her lap.
“Congratulations,” she tells him.
“Thank you,” he manages to say. “I think this was the best season yet.”
A certain look flickers in her eye. She says nothing more.
They find out a month later that the sixth season will be there last. Or the last Jensen will be a part of. He wants to try different things. Be challenged. Take artistic risks. Eric offers to let Jensen direct, to write, to produce. All to no avail. In the end, Jared is sent over to beg. But it is Eva that opens the door to welcome him, not Jensen. Shocking blue eyes, indulgent smiles and art deco mannerism Eva. Beautiful ugly Eva. Jensen’s wife.
In a velvet tone she informs him that Jensen has gone out, but will be back soon. Soon but not soon enough as far as Jared is concerned. She makes tea, and reclines back in her chair as she takes a sip. Blowing cold air on his mug, Jared doesn’t know what to say, or how to say what he has been sent to say, so he doesn’t mutter a word. The steam curls up around him.
“Nothing last forever,” she tells him quietly, breaking the silence. “Sometimes it’s best to quit while you’re ahead.”
Looking up, Jared finds himself pinned by her suddenly far too intense eyes.
Placing her cup aside, she leaves forward a little. “And, for the record it was his choice. Not mine.”
“But you wanted it,” Jared finds himself saying - finds himself implying.
She shrugs, as if that didn't matter. “He is meant for more than a weekly sci-fi.”
Jared hates how she relegates the last few years of their life; a throw away term and a shrug of the shoulders. He knows it’s true. He’s always known it was true. Right from the start. Everyone did. From Eric to the catering staff. Jensen was simply more, simply too bright, simply too good for bit parts and failed television series. But… Supernatural was theirs. Years of late nights, long days, bruises, inside jokes, stolen kisses and – it was theirs.
It’s about then Jensen returns, rose cheeks and bright (too bright) eyes with an armful of shopping. He sees Eva first, Jared second. His face drops, then is quickly schooled into a suitably pleasant expression. Eva disappears in a whisper of silk and pale bare feet. Jensen - narrow hips and glowing golden skin – grabs Jared into brisk hug then slips into the seat his wife abandoned. The conversation that follows is short and pained.
“I’m sorry,” Jensen apologizes towards the end. “I am.”
When Jared leaves a compromise has been made. Though perhaps it is pyrrhic in nature. Another season. Two seasons left instead of just one. But even then, there is no promise Supernatural will make it to six seasons. The conformation of the fifth had been less than certain at the time. At least Eric will be happy. That has to count for something. It has too. Jensen tells him not to worry. That it will all be alright. Jared wants to believe him, but can’t really. They hug before Jared leaves and as they do Jared closes his eyes and breaths Jensen in. Trying to memories him. Trying to hold onto him. When he opens them, he finds Eva watching by the door.
Outside, she catches his elbow as he goes to unlock his car.
The air is cold and her breath leaves her body in clouds. Her eyes, dark, too dark and too fixed, pin him down. Her fingers ever so slightly bunch the fabric of his jacket. The front door is closed. Jensen is inside. They are alone. Across the road, a couple of birds take off from bare oak tree branches. A dog barks. Jared opens his mouth to speak, but she beats him too it.
“I once told you that I wanted to be a good wife for him.” she breathes. “Do you remember?”
The scene flashes before Jared’s eyes. He nods. Yes. He remembers. The awkward dinner party. How could he forget? Glancing over her shoulder, she eyes the windows. Jensen is in the kitchen snacking on a grass green apple. His teeth sink into the fruit; white and sharp. His lips are shinny red, while his eyes are focused on something out of their sight. Jared’s breath catches. Yes. He remembers.
“Are you going to let him be a good husband for me?” she asks.
Jared watches Jensen throw what's left of the eaten apple into the bin before grabbing hold of the weekend paper. Ink black fingertips and achingly pretty green eyes. Jared’s mind is like a steel trap. Yes. He remembers; long days and after hour drinking and xbox. Apples and expectations. Eva is looking at him. Waiting. Expecting. Jared can only give one answer. There isn’t room for another.
“Yeah,” he whispers.
She lets go of his arm.