Imaginary Jensen was awesome.
Not only was Imaginary Jensen charming, gregarious and secretly a superhero, but he was also dating the Really Hot Guy who worked on the same floor of Jensen's office building as Jensen did.
Really Hot Guy was, well, really hot, and also friendly and outgoing, with a smile that could light up a city and a laugh that made Jensen's heart flip. Imaginary Jensen and Really Hot Guy had started going out five months ago after they met in the elevator on their way to work and Imaginary Jensen had been charming and gregarious and generally awesome and Really Hot Guy had asked him out.
Their first date was dinner at Jensen's favourite steakhouse, followed by a quiet walk on the beach and making out on the couch in Jensen's apartment. They moved in together after three months and at five they were pretty much as happy as they could be. The sex was fantastic, Really Hot Guy was amazing and Imaginary Jensen was an awesome boyfriend. All in all, a pretty good state of affairs.
The only problem with the whole scenario, of course, was the fact that Imaginary Jensen was imaginary.
Real Jensen did indeed work on the same floor as Really Hot Guy, and they did take the same elevator up to work nearly every morning but Real Jensen had not, in the entire five months that Really Hot Guy had been working in his building, managed to say so much as a single word to him.
It wasn't that Jensen was socially inept or anything. Or well, it was, but normally he could at least manage polite conversation. He worked accounts and fundraising for a theatre company after all; he couldn't have done his job if he was afraid to talk to people. But he wasn't particularly good at the whole dating thing. He didn't think he'd actually asked anyone out on a date since he was twelve and puberty hadn't clued him in to the fact that he was gay yet.
It also didn't help that Really Hot Guy seemed to be friends with pretty much everyone in the building except Jensen. Most days, Jensen arrived to find Really Hot Guy chatting with the security guards or trading stories over coffee with the girls from the massage therapy clinic on the third floor. But he'd never made any attempt to get to know Jensen, despite their long tenure as elevator buddies, which seemed like pretty conclusive evidence that he wasn't interested in the shy dork in the glasses who loved theatre but was too cripplingly self-conscious to do anything except admin.
So Jensen stuck to basking in his daily five minutes of Really Hot Guy elevator time and left the rest of the whole boyfriend thing to Imaginary Jensen.
Which was why, when he looked up from restocking the CDs at the retail desk on the opening night of Into the Woods to see Really Hot Guy standing on the other side of the room and looking in his direction, he just about had a heart attack.
"Really Jensen?" Danneel demanded, when he ducked immediately behind her. "Just go talk to him."
"I can't!" Jensen hissed back, doing his best to be inconspicuous while hiding behind someone who was at least a half foot shorter than he was. "You know me, Danni."
Danneel rolled her eyes. "Aside from your towering lack of self-esteem and the fact that you still have an imaginary friend - who is you - there is nothing that should keep you from talking to the hot guy you've had a thing for since March."
"Shut up," he muttered, making a note never to get drunk with Danneel and talk about his feelings ever again.
"Is Jensen back there?" Katie asked, her smart black heels clicking on the tiles as she drew up on Danneel's left. "I thought he was supposed to be helping you."
"Unfortunately, Jensen left his spine at home today," Danneel told her. "He's having a crisis because his elevator crush is here and he's too much of a sissy to go talk to him."
"Hey!" Jensen objected.
Katie pursed her lips. "Are you talking about Jared?"
Jensen blinked at her. "Um...?"
"Jared Padalecki. He works in the travel agency on our floor. He's right over there." She gestured and Jensen could have died when he followed her gaze to find himself staring right at Really Hot Guy. Who was looking right back.
Danneel raised an eyebrow at Katie. "You know him?"
Katie shrugged. "Sort of," she said, in an innocent tone of voice that made Jensen immediately wary. "He came by last week with some questions about our office."
"What sort of questions?" Danneel asked, grinning for some reason. Jensen wasn't sure he wanted to know.
Katie's smile flashed. "Staff. I'm taking over for you here, Jensen," she said abruptly, ignoring his flailing attempts to keep hiding as she tugged him out from behind both Danneel and the table. "You go work on your interpersonal skills."
"VIP room?" he asked hopefully.
"Customer service." She tilted her head at him. "And try not to fuck it up, okay?"
"Jensen." Danneel leaned across the table with a look that made Jensen quail. "You fail to get a date out of this and I'm going to kill you myself."
Jensen was trying not to have a panic attack. "But-"
"Hi Jared!" Katie said brightly, hands tightening warningly on Jensen's arm when he tried to bolt. "Glad you could come. You've met Jensen right?"
"Almost," a very familiar voice said and Jensen nearly ended up on his ass when Katie shoved him forwards. Strong hands caught him by the shoulders and Jensen looked up to find Really Hot Guy - Jared - looking down at him with an adorably hopeful smile. "Hi."
Jensen squeaked. And immediately wanted to smack himself.
Amazingly, Jared's smile didn't falter. "That's okay. Katie told me you're not much of a talker. Just let me say my piece and you can just nod or shake your head at me, okay?"
Jensen nodded dumbly.
Jared's dimples flashed. "Awesome. So I've been wanting to ask you out for months but I didn't think you were interested because you always seemed so uncomfortable when I was around."
Jensen boggled at him.
Jared laughed. "Yeah, Katie had about the same reaction. Which is why I'm here. I figure I'll just keep talking at you until you either punch me or agree to date me."
"You-" Jensen managed, feeling like all the air had been crushed out of his lungs. "You want me to date you?"
Jared shrugged. "Or I can date you. I don't mind doing the wooing in this relationship."
Jensen's eyes felt like they were about to fall right out of his head. "R-relationship?"
"Well, potential relationship. If you want to." Jared's smile went back to hopeful with a handful of sheepish thrown into the mix. "I'd take a nod any time now."
"But why?" Jensen demanded. "I can't believe you'd..."
"Arrive early and hang out in the lobby every morning so we could take the elevator together?" Jared asked. He winked. "I can't really believe it either; it's kind of pathetic. And vaguely stalkerish."
"But-" Jensen flailed a hand at him. "You, Jared you're awesome and hot and outgoing and I'm-" Jensen sighed, staring down at his shoes. "I'm just me."
Jared leaned in close. "I'll tell you a secret," he said, warm and soft. "I'm just me too. And I think you're pretty awesome."
Jensen swallowed hard. "Oh."
"So you might want to put me out of my misery," Jared continued at a normal volume. "Cause I really don't want to make our morning elevator trips any more awkward than they already are but I kind of want to know everything about you and I'll probably never stop talking to you now that I've started. So if you're planning on hitting me now would be the-"
"Dinner," Jensen blurted out, heart pounding. "I, we could. Dinner. Together. Some time. If you want."
Even after five months of watching, Jensen hadn't know that Jared's smile could get that bright. "I want. Very much. You doing anything after the show?"
"I have to help with the clean-u..."
"No, he doesn't," Danneel cut in and Jensen looked over to find her grinning up at Jared with a decidedly smug expression. "He's totally free. And to tide you over till then, you and I are going to trade tickets so you and Jensen can sit together. Make it dinner and a show."
"You won't hear me complaining," Jared grinned, then glanced at Jensen. "What do you think? Nod?"
Somehow, Jensen found a smile of his own. "Sounds good to me."
Imaginary Jensen would probably have been appalled at him for being such a tool but as Jared smiled at him with that smile that never failed to make his heart pound, Jensen couldn't bring himself to care.
Maybe Real Jensen was kind of awesome too.