Funerals and weddings, Jensen thinks. The only times he wears a kilt is to attend funerals or weddings. He tugs at his tie, looks in the mirror, tugs again, stares sadly at the squint knot staring back at him. It does at least match the uneven slant of his kilt and his twisted kilt socks. If only Jared were here. Jared with his clever hands, and his eye for style. Without Jared, Jensen is pathetically useless.
"Hello, Jensen? You doing okay, there?" Jared's mum peers around the door.
Jensen shrugs. "Fine. I just look like I dressed in the dark as usual."
"Oh, Jensen, come here and let me see you." Sheilah Padalecki steps into the room, her sensible court heels clicking across the wooden floorboards. She's dressed as immaculately as always in a carefully chosen skirt suit, her greying hair coiffed and sprayed into submission and her make-up perfectly understated, although there’s a sheen of tears in her eyes - hazel just like Jared's - that threatens to ruin her mascara. "I do wish your parents could have been here to support you," Mrs Padalecki, five foot and half an inch of fierce motherly pride, sniffs as she quickly untangles the knot in his black tie, redoing it so it sits perfectly. "It's not right that you have to do this on your own. You should have your family around you at a time like this."
"You're my family, Mrs Padalecki." Jensen says softly. "You and Mr Padalecki and Alexander and Mhairi."
"Oh, Jensen," Mrs Padalecki smiles, fragile and wavering. "Your parents are fools. I'd like to give them a piece of my mind. What they did-"
Jensen shakes his head, "Not today, Mrs Padalecki, I can't think about them today."
"Of course not, dear." Sheilah Padalecki says, producing a handkerchief out of the sleeve of her blouse and dabbing her eyes. "And it's Sheilah, Jensen, really. Och, look at the state of your socks. And your kilt is squint."
Before Jensen has a chance to object, Mrs Padalecki is tugging at his kilt. Her small fingers slipping down the waistband and hauling at the heavy wool until the apron is properly positioned, the deep pleats falling where they should. Ignoring his protests and batting his hand away, she tightens the buckle on the leather straps ensuring that the waistband is fitted snugly around his waist so that the kilt hangs at the perfect height, just skirting his knees. Then, she drops down and straightens his socks, folding them so they sit just right. Jensen can't look down, absolutely mortified. Wondering what Jared would say if he could see him now.
Jared. There's a lump in Jensen's throat when he think about him. An ache in his heart. Jared was, is and always will be Jensen's first and greatest love. And this, this reminds Jensen so much of the first time that they met, the first time he set eyes on the man that would change his life forever.
The kilt outfit had been hired, last minute and cheaply, from a strange little shop in a dubious area of Perth that was more charity shop that designer brand. Unfortunately it's the best that Jensen could afford; student loans and MacDonald's wages not stretching very far. Looking at his ragged reflection in the bathroom mirror, it's obvious that Jensen's best, as usual, is nowhere near good enough. The kilt looks as though it was made for a seven foot tall, caber tossing heavy weight. Jensen's almost six foot frame is swamped, the kilt sitting so low on his narrow hips that the hem is half way down his calves. The shirt is a baggy crumpled mess, and the jacket is a lost cause.
Jensen looks down at himself in despair. He can't possibly go anywhere looking like this. He looks stupid. Almost as stupid as he feels. If Steve wasn't his one of his best friends, he'd make a run for it before anyone saw him. Even now, he's tempted. Unlike Jensen, Steve has lots of friends and a massive family. On a big day like this, his wedding day, he probably won't even notice that Jensen isn't there. But then, what kind of friend would that make Jensen - the shitty kind, that's what.
Jensen frowns in the mirror. He really does look ridiculous. The freckles scattered across his nose seem to darken against his too pale skin in sulky agreement. Jensen huffs a despairing sigh and scrubs his hands across his face praying for some kind of miracle; a sudden bout of food poisoning perhaps, or maybe a minor heart attack, the floor swallowing him whole would be too much to ask for he supposes - earthquakes and sinkholes not being particularly common in Perthshire.
His eyes flick up when the bathroom door swings open with a grudging creak, a barrage of curses tumbling silently from his lips when he sees who's walked in. Just when he thought things couldn't get any worse.
"Well, if it is'nae big Steve's light-footed fairy friend. Shite, I thought you lot were supposed to be stylish. Look at the fucking state of you!"
Angus, bloody brilliant. Steve's future brother in law, and an absolute knobhead. A homophobic knobhead at that. His barely concealed contempt and twitchy fists were the main reason Jensen bailed early from Steve's stag-do. As if Jensen's day wasn't bad enough already. Jensen ignores him, tries to do something constructive with the horrible tartan tie flapping limply round his neck.
Behind him, Angus smirks. "What did you do, borrow your auld man's kilt? Oh-no, wait a minute you could'nae have done. He threw your pansy-ass out the door didn't he. He would'nae even loan you the dog shite off his shoes these days."
"Fuck off, Angus." Jensen says, more exhaustion in his voice than ire. "You don't have to be a dick every day of your life."
Angus's smirk turns even nastier, and a cold finger of fear taps at the back of Jensen's neck. Angus might be a couple of inches shorter than Jensen but he's almost as broad as he is tall. And most of his bulk is muscle. Muscle that he isn't shy about using. "You lookin' tae start something here, Jenny?"
Jensen slowly turns around, pre-emptively holding his hands out in front of him. "Look, Angus, I don't want any trouble, okay? Let's not spoil Steve and Catriona's big day."
"You dinnae think turning up looking like a jumble-sale reject is goin' tae spoil it anyway?"
Jensen's face heats at the accusation, because arsehole Angus has a valid point.
"I dinnae even ken why you're here, you tosser. Naebody wants you around." Angus struts into Jensen's space, backing him up against the bathroom sinks, not stopping until his foul lager breath is curdling against Jensen's face and the lip of the sink is carving a groove into his spine. "Stevie only lets you hang around because he feels sorry for you."
"That's...that's not true," Jensen stutters, stomach twisting at the thought that it might be.
Angus grins knowing his verbal punch hit its target. "Gonnae just do us all a favour you big jessie, and fly your fairy ass ba-"
Angus stops mid-word, looking over Jensen's shoulder into the mirror to see who just walked into the bathrooms. "Alright pal? If you dinnae mind, Jenny and I are just having a wee chat here."
"Well, your friend doesn't look very comfortable, so why don't you take a step back." The words aren't aggressive but the tone is firm. Still, Jensen is surprised when Angus does indeed back away. Breathing out in relief, Jensen glances towards the door to see who his mysterious rescuer is, and all of a sudden, Angus's seething bulk fades into insignificance. This guy is stunning. He doesn't look ridiculous in his kilt; he looks like some kind of Celtic warrior. An incredibly sexy Celtic warrior. He's tall, a good four inches taller than Jensen and broad, but with beautiful toned muscle not bull-necked bulk; chestnut hair that falls down to his collar, a button nose that tilts up adorably, and stunning almond eyes that shine hazel, or maybe green, Jensen very much wants to get close enough to find out.
"Are you okay?"
It takes a moment too long for Jensen to grasp that the guy is talking to him. And a moment longer to work enough moisture back into his mouth to reply. "Uh..yes?"
Before he can kick himself for his lame response, Angus butts in, drawing tall, dark and handsome’s attention. "Look I told you; he's fine, so why don't you piss off and come back in five minutes."
"I don't think so." The guy spreads his feet, folds his arms across his chest, his stance projecting immovable object.
"Look mate," Angus says dropping his voice and trying for friendly. "I'm not wantin’ any bother here; I'm just trying to teach this faggot that-"
Jensen flinches at the slur at the same time as the other guy tenses; the vein in his neck pulsing angrily. Jensen’s stomach drops like a lead weight; if the guy is a homophobic dick like Angus then he is totally screwed, he might as well call for an ambulance right now.
Jensen swallows hard, his palms clammy with nervous sweat as he tries to read the guy's mood.
"Well then, in that case you're going to have to teach me a lesson too. Seeing as how I'm another one of those faggots."
"You?" Angus sounds as astounded as Jensen feels. No way is he that lucky.
"Yes me. Now you want to take us both on and have to explain to everyone including your sister and Steve that you got your arse handed to you by two fags? Or do you want to walk out of here in one piece?"
Angus splutters comically for a second, his face contorting through a range of expressions from disbelief to flabbergasted to pure animosity and ending in a resigned kind of scowl. Obviously he wants nothing more than to take this guy on, but two against one - especially when one of the two looks like he bench presses highland cows for fun - and at his sister's wedding, is giving even a complete dolt like him pause for consideration.
"Well I…I guess I dinnae want to spoil my sister's big day." Angus finally says.
"No, you really don't," the guy agrees, not taking his eyes off Angus as the disgruntled moron tries to walk casually past him to get to the door. Angus must think he's free and clear, but the other guy chooses that minute to pounce. In one ninja-quick move, he grabs Angus's wrist, twists it up behind his back and pins him, face first against the door. Jensen can't quite make out what the guy says, his voice too low as he drops his head and whispers in Angus's ear, but when he shoves him one last time against the solid door before letting go, Angus's face is as white as a sheet. "Yer aff yer fuckin heid, man" he says, voice trembling almost as much as his hand on the door handle. "Bloody nutcase," he adds, with one final wide-eyed glance back over his shoulder when he finally manages to open the door and bolt from the room.
Jensen's breath catches in his throat as the guy turns back around, his relief tinged with uncertainty. The guy might be gay, but he's also apparently a bit of a hard man, and Jensen really really isn't. That uncertainty fades when the guy relaxes those big broad shoulders and smiles. Fireworks explode. Jensen's heart swells so much it almost bursts out of his chest. Dimples, the cutest dimples and the whitest teeth and the sunniest, warmest smile. And Jensen stares back like an idiot, too stunned to move.
"Hey, are you okay?" The guy asks.
Jensen can only nod mutely in reply.
"God that guy's a dick. He didn't hurt you did he?"
Jensen gets as far as licking his lips, but words are still out of his reach. He settles for shaking his head.
"You're not exactly chatty are you?" The guy says, his eyes twinkling with amusement. "Well, that's okay. I've got a big enough mouth for the pair of us."
Jensen's eyes are drawn to his lips, spread wide in a smile. He'd like to see them close up. Like to trace them with his tongue, taste them, nip at them until they shine red.
"So, I'm Jared." The guys says, and Jensen's eyes jump away from his mouth, guilty and embarrassed, positive that the guy, Jared, somehow knows exactly what he was thinking.
"And you are?"
"Sorry," Jensen blurts out, face immediately flaming. "Jensen," he adds meekly. "I'm Jensen, and I'm sorry about that. You didn't have to...I'm fine..." His teeth clamp shut when he realises he's making an idiot of himself.
The guy, Jared, walks towards him, hand outstretched, his smile not dimming exactly, but turning more intimate, real, an invitation. "Jensen...you're Steve's friend, right? I'm his cousin. I think we missed each other the other night at Stevie's stag-do. I was late, got stuck at work, and you bailed early Steve said?"
Jensen takes the offered hand, looks down as Jared's long fingers engulf his.
"Jensen?" Jared asks softly "Are you okay?"
"Angus," Jensen says. "I left early because of him."
"I don't blame you," Jared says, holding on to Jensen's hand, his thumb sliding across Jensen's knuckles. The hairs on Jensen's arms stand up, an electric charge running through his blood, his mouth seared dry.
"I'm not normally-" Jensen says, tries to explain. "I'm not normally so-"
"Cute?" Jared suggests.
Jensen blushes, chews at his lip, doesn't let go of Jared's hand.
"So adorable? So irresistible?" Jared says. "So downright talkative?"
"So pathetic," Jensen says, his voice reduced to little more than a whisper.
"Hey," Jared says, dropping Jensen's hand, instead tucking his fingers under Jensen's chin and nudging his head up. "You're not pathetic; don't say shit like that about yourself, man." Jensen barely hears him, he's entranced by his first close look at Jared's eyes; they're hazel, with amber and green flecks and big black pupils swallowing them up - the prettiest eyes that Jensen has ever fallen into.
Jensen shakes his head in an attempt to dislodge some words from where they're trapped in his dazed brain. "I'm...a mess; Angus was right....I look like a charity shop cast off."
"You couldn't be more wrong." Jared says, a faraway look in his eyes that makes Jensen's stomach flip flop. "Can I?" He asks.
Jensen nods, hell yeah, this guy can do whatever he wants. Jensen stands rigid, as Jared runs his hands over his shirt, tucks it in to his kilt, deftly tightens and straightens, smooths wool and white cotton. It's not like being dressed by his mum, it's more like being undressed by a lover; every touch leaves behind a spark of heat and steals a gasp of air. Jared slides the tie free from Jensen's collar and Jensen's whole body shudders. Dropping the tie, forgotten, to the floor, Jared pops open the top button of Jensen's collar and then the next one, his fingers, strong and calloused, trace feather-light down Jensen's throat, across the ridge of his collar bone. "That's better," Jared says, his voice a low drawl, like an aged malt whisky, dark and smoky, and going straight to Jensen's head.
If Jensen cared he would turn around and look in the mirror, see if Jared had somehow worked a miracle and made him look presentable, but all Jensen cares about now is Jared. The touch of his hand, the woodsy scent of his aftershave, the question in his eyes. It feels as though he's caught in a dream. One magical moment far removed from Jensen's real life. A real life that's harsh and awkward, sharp-edged and complicated. A real life that means never being good enough, never quite fitting in, always watching from the outside. This is - different. Jared is different. Jared is suddenly everything Jensen wants.
Jared's fingers brush a path back up Jensen's throat, tickle over his jaw. His thumb maps the outline of Jensen's lips. "Fuck," he exhales unsteadily, sounding as shaken as Jensen feels. "Steve said you were good looking, but he never said you were this pretty."
Jensen's blinks, his mouth falling open in surprise, his lips forming a shocked little 'o'.
"God, you're gorgeous. Can I?" He asks again. Jensen's response hasn't changed, he nods.
Then Jared's lips are on Jensen's. Barely there, a hint of a tease of a touch, a promise of more.
"Jensen?" Mrs Padalecki says, snapping him back to the present. "Are you alright, pet? You’re looking awful peely-wally."
Jensen swallows and nods, the ghost of Jared's touch lingering on his lips. "Yes, Mrs Padalecki, Sheilah. Yes, thanks. I just...just want to get this over with."
Jared's mum nods, understanding in her eyes. She knows how hard this is for Jensen. All those people. All those eyes on him. Knows all he wants is Jared by his side again. Knows just how hard the past few days have been for him.
"I know, sweetheart." She says, straightening the spray of heather in his buttonhole. "It's almost time. Just stay strong a little while longer. For Jared. It'll all be over before you know it."
Jensen nods, his smile watery.
"I'd better get going. Ian'll be thinking I've gotten lost again." She reaches up and gives his cheek a fond pat. "We'll see you out there, pet."
Jensen bends down and lays a quick peck on her cheek before she leaves. As the door shuts quietly behind her, he finds himself yearning for his own mother, even though he hasn't seen her since he was seventeen; blue-haired, freshly tattooed and also freshly out. Jensen tries not to dwell on the ugly memory. On the tears, and bruises. On the hatred and disgust. On the disappointed hand-wringing and the way his belongings were thrown like rubbish on to the pavement. On the foul-mouthed rant by a father grounded in a strict Presbyterian upbringing, unwilling to bend his views, his principles, even for his son.
Jensen scrunches his eyes closed and chases away the memories. This is not a day to dwell on the scars of the past. Opening his eyes, he turns and checks himself over one last time in the mirror. Somehow Mrs Padalecki has done the impossible; he almost looks half-decent. That's a significant improvement. Jensen will never accept that he looks good dressed like this. No matter how many times Jared has reassured him over the years; Jensen will never believe that his bowed legs look anything but ridiculous in a kilt. They also make him paranoid as hell that he's going to give everyone a cheap show when he sits down, his thighs spreading wide naturally. Not that Jared ever minded that. Usually encouraged it actually.
Jensen runs his fingers through his hair, teases his short spikes up, then skims the pad of his thumb across his freshly-shaved jaw, briefly mourns the loss of his beard. Jared always did prefer him baby-smooth though. All over.
A knock on the door distracts him before he can delve deeper into those thoughts. It's probably just as well. It's not exactly appropriate.
"You ready?" Steve asks, poking his head around the door. "Everyone's waiting."
Jensen takes a deep breath, wills the panic in his chest to ease. Wiping his damp palms on the arse of his kilt he nods grimly.
Steve laughs, the bastard. "Shit, Jensen, it's a wedding you're going to, not a fucking funeral. Lighten up mate."
"One of these days," Jared says buttoning up his shirt. "It'll be us."
"Fucking shitting hell," Jensen spits, trying and failing again to fasten the stupid fiddly cufflink through the hole in the cuff of the old-fashioned shirt that Jared picked out for him; why he couldn't just hire a damn kilt outfit like normal Jensen has no idea, but Jared had insisted it was time he bought a kilt that fit properly, and a shirt with bloody cuffs that didn't just button up like a normal fucking shirt.
"Here, let me." Jared's brushes his hand away, curling his fingers around Jensen's wrist and fastening the cufflink in place effortlessly.
"Thanks," Jensen mumbles, handing the other cufflink to him wordlessly. "What did you say?"
"I said," Jared rolls his eyes. "That one of these days it'll be us getting married."
Jensen loves Jared more than anything or anyone in the world. But sometimes he thinks his boyfriend is a little simple. "Maybe if we elope to Canada. Don't you have a cousin out there?"
"Probably," Jared nods, folding Jensen's cuff neatly before snapping the cufflink into place. "But no, here in Scotland."
"I love you Jared, but you're seriously deluded if you believe that'll ever happen. Not here."
"You don't think they'll do it? Pass the same sex marriage bill?"
"Yeah," Jared says, lifting Jensen's hand up and pressing a kiss to the inside of his wrist. "I think love is stronger than prejudice. I think Scots are brave and forward thinking. I think-"
"Not all of us," Jensen cuts him off quickly. "Not all Scots are forward thinking. Some of them are narrow-minded bigots stuck in the dark ages. Some of them-"
"-are progressive and passionate and believe in freedom and fairness and equality." Jared winds his fingers through Jensen's. "Not everyone is like your parents, Jensen."
"A lot are though," Jensen replies, his voice as heavy as his heart. "The churches will never condone it."
"They don't have to." Jared says. "Have a little faith."
Jensen screws his nose up at that. Jared laughs, bends down and kisses it. "Not in the church idiot. In me. Have a little faith in me, in your fellow Scot."
Jensen doesn't say anything, just tilts his head up in offering, melting against Jared as their mouths meet. He has plenty of faith in Jared, but the jury's out on the rest of Scotland. Jared sees the best in people. Believes that good will always prevail. Jared has a huge loving and generous family that have supported him every step of the way. Jared is tall, charismatic, and outgoing, and ripped enough that even the most homophobic dickhead usually keeps his mouth shut. Jensen and Jared's experiences, their upbringings, are completely different. And that is something Jensen is grateful for. He wouldn't change Jared for anything, wouldn't warp Jared's enthusiasm and love for life with the deeply ingrained cynicism that taints his own view of the world. Jensen envies Jared's optimism, that doesn't mean he'll ever share it.
"Is that a yes," Jared says against his mouth, tongue swiping across Jensen's.
"Mm, what?" Jensen asks, distracted as he chases after Jared's retreating lips.
"Did you agree to marry me one day?" Jared huffs a gentle laugh. Jensen looks up into those hazel eyes he fell in love with at first sight, and teases playfully, "Did you ask me?"
"No," Jared says, after a second's consideration. "I guess I didn't. Oh, well, we'll just have to live in sin for a wee while longer."
"Sin's good," Agrees Jensen, walking Jared backwards until his calves collide with the bed. "Let me show you just how sinful I can be."
Daylight is just beginning to fade as Jensen follows Steve through the thick-carpeted halls of the castle, now a hotel, outside into the wood-edged gardens. The notes of Highland Cathedral, played by a lone piper, roll through the air, the sound almost eerie in the falling gloom of dusk. Jensen must have been mad to agree to an outdoor wedding in January in Scotland. Or head-over-heels in stupid love. The ballroom was on standby in-case of a seasonal gale or snowstorm, but since a blanket of snow fell thick and heavy last night, the weather has held fair. If absolutely finger-bitingly baltic cold. It's just as well the service is a quick twenty minute affair, because Jensen doubts their guests would stand around freezing their floppy bits off for any longer than that no matter how much they want to see Jared and Jensen wed. At least there are roaring log fires and bottles of whisky waiting to warm them up indoors once the ceremony is finished.
Jensen shivers when the cold air whips up his kilt, thinks maybe he should have worn thermals rather than the flimsy underwear he chose, though he knows they’ll have Jared panting over him later on. He is glad they decided on rugged boots rather than shining leather kilt shoes when he trudges across the snow-covered lawn. He can't help but wonder how many people swore at their choice of venue when they made they treacherous walk through the gardens. The snow might paint a beautiful picture, but it's not exactly high-heel or dress shoe friendly.
Every frivolous thought disappears, every doubt and worry Jensen has vanishes when he spots Jared standing in the clearing. Behind him is a stunning backdrop, the still-waters of the loch, dark and mysterious bordered by snow-covered firs. The mountains rise up behind them, sparkling white in the rising moonlight. A circle of glowing lanterns surrounds Jared, the registrar stands on one side of him, Jared's brother and best-man, Alexander, on the other, a hundred or so guests huddled close by, leaving a lantern-lined path for Jensen to walk down.
The beauty of the scene spread out before him is lost on Jensen. All he sees is Jared; gorgeous, tall, proud and magnificent. His smile is blinding, even from a distance. Jared is everything Jensen wants, everything he needs. Jared is his love, his family, his home.
They're in a pub when they hear the news. It's been a cold, wet and dreich February day. Both of them had been caught up in work; Jensen trying to wrangle a class of wet-weather cabin-fevered eight-year olds into painting sunsets (ironic considering the sun hadn't put in an appearance for days) and Jared, well - being a vet in the middle of lambing season, Jared was presumably up to his armpits in something Jensen doesn't want to contemplate while eating his mince and tatties.
As usual, the small television attached to the wall in the corner of the room is on, sound turned down low, subtitles scrolling along the bottom of the picture. And as usual Jensen hasn't been paying much attention to it; more often than not it's a football game that's playing or the news that’s on and that is never anything but depressing these days. He doesn't even know why he looks up at that precise second, there's just something - something that catches his eye. People cheering, and kissing and Saltires and rainbow flags flying.
"Holy shit!" Jensen gasps, fork slipping through his fingers and clattering onto his plate, gravy splattering everywhere. "Holy fucking shit! They did it!"
"Did what?" Jared asks around a mouthful of mashed potato, his back to the television and utterly oblivious.
"Passed it. I don't believe it. They fucking did it, Jared."
Jared scrunches his nose up in confusion, and twists around to face the TV screen, curious to see what Jensen's raving about. He doesn't seem to notice when his own fork slides right out of his hand and bounces off the dingy pub carpet. "Holy fuck, I can't believe we forgot the vote was today."
When he turns back, he's grinning so hard that his dimples are deeper than Jensen's ever seen them. "I told you. I fucking told you."
"Yeah, you fucking did," Jensen grins back.
Flying high on elation, they smile, euphoric, at each other across the table, desperate to celebrate the way the occasion - momentous, historical, fucking miraculous - deserves. Unfortunately they're both very conscious of where they are; their local pub, a friendly enough place, but the patrons are a mixed crowd, not all of whom would likely appreciate public snogging, let alone public gay snogging between the local vet and primary school teacher.
It's Jensen, and that's a surprise to them both, who throws caution to the wind. "Fuck it," he growls, jumping up, snagging the front of Jared's sweatshirt, yanking him to his feet and dragging him in for a kiss. A real lip smacker that's messy and rough but utterly carefree. They break apart panting and grinning to a chorus of whoops and catcalls. Jensen's face immediately flushes beet red, and he claps his hand over his eyes, groaning as Jared performs a deep bow in every direction.
"You asked him to marry you, Padalecki?" The landlord, Duncan, yells from behind the bar.
"Not yet," Jared calls back.
"Well, don't wait too long; someone else might snap him up - he's a right bonnie laddie." Duncan winks lecherously at Jensen, letting out a booming belly-laugh as his wife slaps his arm. For a moment Jensen honestly thinks his face might combust, but instead the laughter bubbling up in his chest explodes, bursting out like a shower of fizzing champagne, light and joyous. It's a good night.
The service is beautiful. Everything they hoped for and more. As soon as Jared takes hold of his hand, Jensen's nerves dissipate, floating away into the ether like a frosted puff of breath. He forgets the cold, and the people watching them. Forgets everything but what's important to him - Jared.
The promises they make, the vows they exchange, were written with a half-chewed biro on the back of an envelope over an Indian take-away, and a couple of bottles of lager, on a night that had ended in spicy kisses and slow hand-jobs on the sofa. The vows aren't traditional, but they're real, honest, every word heartfelt. It's not a traditional wedding in any respect, and it's not religious at all, but it's as sacred and binding as any ceremony held in any church.
When Jared repeats his vows he stops to brush the tears from Jensen's eyes, and as Jensen slips the ring on Jared's finger snowflakes drift down from the sky like confetti. When the registrar announces them officially, legally, married and finally prompts them to kiss, Jensen and Jared fall into one another, drawn together like magnets, and as unwilling to separate. Their guests are clapping in delight by the time they peel apart. The registrar flushed pink and looking skyward.
It's everything Jensen wanted. And thought he could never have. It's beautiful. And magical. And bitterly, ball-shrinkingly, cold.
Hand in hand, giggling like giddy teenagers, Jared and Jensen run through the snow, slip sliding, kicking up drifts, all the way to the shelter of the castle. Their family and friends following close behind as the pretty swirling flakes of snow turns into a face-numbing blizzard.
It was a lazy Sunday morning, maybe it had even slipped unnoticed past noon. They'd read every section of the newspapers, drunk coffee and eaten bacon sandwiches, all in bed, dressed in boxers and t-shirts, rumpled and relaxed. Somehow they'd ended up side by side, top to toe, Jared's head at the bottom of the bed, his hand wrapped around Jensen's leg, Jensen's hand lying on Jared's thigh, absentmindedly tracing around the edges of his tattoo.
They might have been edging towards sex, slowly, with teasing touches, or they might have simply been drifting off to sleep, wrapped comfortably in each other. Either way, Jared's question comes out of the blue. Random and cryptic.
"So do you want to?"
"Want to what?" Jensen mumbles, grudging the energy it takes to form words. He's relaxed, and sleepy.
Jared huffs as though Jensen should know exactly what he's talking about, and he hasn't just started a conversation mid-way through.
That cuts through Jensen's muzzy half-asleep fog. "What?"
"Do you want to get married?" Jared speaks slowly, clearly, sarcastically enunciating each word.
Jensen slaps his thigh, hard enough to leave a bright pink handprint. "That's not very fucking romantic you wanker."
Jared laughs, rolls over, crawls up the bed on his elbows and climbs on top of Jensen, straddling him so their groins are squashed together and caging him with his arms, dipping his head so they're nose to nose. "Do you, Jensen freckle-face Ackles, want to marry me, Jared hung-like-a-horse Padalecki, in sickness and in sex, for richer or drunker-"
"I don't think that's quite how it goes," Jensen chuckles nervously, his heart battering so hard against his chest that Jared must be able to hear it.
"So?" Jared says, his voice sobering, his eyes not straying from Jensen's. "Will you marry me?"
"Yes," Jensen says on a rush of breath. "Yes, yes, yes. Please."
Jared grins, throws back his head and whoops. Then he’s kissing Jensen, desperate and ecstatic and unrestrained, more a messy collision of teeth than lips, then he laughs again, grabs Jensen's hips and spins them around so Jensen is lying astride him. "You said yes," he says breathlessly. "You said yes!"
"Of course I did, you idiot; I love you."
The kiss, this time, is perfect.
While the wedding ceremony may not have been terribly traditional, the party afterwards definitely is. A typical boozy Scottish wedding reception; plenty of food, too much cheap fizzy wine, whisky galore, a fantastically big cake and more than one sappy speech. And then music and dancing that brings the whole room alive.
The dancing actually starts off sedately enough; Jared and Jensen taking to the floor for the bridal waltz. Or rather the groomly shuffle; it’s possible they shouldn’t have just pissed themselves laughing when Jared's sister suggested they take some lessons or at least practise waltzing. The smug smirk Mhairi gives them as she watches their poor effort from the side-lines suggests she is having the last laugh. Thankfully Jared's parents, and then the rest of his family, and then the entire wedding party soon join them. Before long the floor is bursting with couples, old and young, side by side, the newlyweds relaxing as they get lost amongst the crowd. Jared sings along with their favourite Ed Sheeran song, off-key but Jensen doesn't care. Jared's breath tickles Jensen's ear and he lays his head on his husband’s shoulder, closes his eyes and smiles contentedly.
They join in with country dancing. Jensen grumps and pouts, making a show of reluctance, but secretly he enjoys it, especially dancing with Jared, whose enthusiasm more than makes up for his clumsy feet. They dance the Gay Gordon's, obviously, then the Military Two Step, and the Dashing White Sergeant and by the time the accordionist finishes the last note of a frantic Strip the Willow all the dancers are hot, dizzy and giggling. And in need of a stiff drink.
Later on in the evening, when the disco replaces the ceilidh band, Jared snags Jensen away from the bar where he's talking to Alexander; "One last dance, baby," he breathes in Jensen's ear, a demanding plea whispered in heather honey tones. "Then I think we should slip away."
Jensen couldn't agree quicker. The whole day has been incredible, but he's more than ready for their wedding night. They've been apart for days now, at Jared's parent’s suggestion, and Jensen has missed his boyfriend, his husband, more than he thought possible. He desperately needs to have Jared to himself again, needs to have those plains of golden skin under his fingertips, needs to claim him back.
They don't manage to slip away as quietly as planned, but eventually, dusted in confetti and with cheers ringing in their ears, they make their escape. They aren't staying in the castle, even though there is a perfectly good honeymoon suite. Jared was convinced that their friends would sabotage the room, and Jensen, not wanting to deal with an apple-pied bed or a room full of balloons or anything worse, was in full agreement.
Instead, Jensen lets Jared lead him around the estate to a row of stone guest cottages looking pretty under their snow-topped roofs. Jared takes a key from his sporran and unlocks the door to a welcoming little cottage, light spilling out of it's window and smoke swirling out of the chimney.
As soon as they step inside the cottage its warmth envelops them, thawing out Jensen's ice-pop nose and easing his chattering teeth. "This is beautiful," he says gazing around the room; cosy and homey, if a little touristy, with its tartan curtains, throws, cushions and a big picture of a stag above the fireplace. In front of the roaring fire is a luxurious sheepskin rug, a bottle of malt whisky and two crystal glasses. It's a complete cliché, but fuck if Jensen doesn't almost tear up.
"The hotel staff are awesome," Jared says, kicking off his boots and crossing to the rug and the whisky.
"You're awesome," Jensen says, because he knows that Jared must have organised this. Following his husband's lead, he kicks off his boots, takes off his sporran, and strips out of his jacket, then joins Jared and accepts the whisky he offers him, their fingers brushing around the glass.
"To us," Jared says, clinking his glass against Jensen's.
"To us," Jensen agrees, taking just a sip that burns deliciously as it rolls down his throat, kindling the fire in his belly.
In silent agreement, the both set down their drinks. The air between them heavy with tension, Jared's eyes dark and Jensen's mouth suddenly dry.
"I missed you," Jensen admits, voice rough.
"Me too," Jared smiles.
Jensen has no idea why nerves are fluttering against his rib cage; it feels like first date jitters all over again. Jared cradles Jensen's cheek with his hand, Jensen shivers and leans into his touch without thinking about it. They move together, Jared angling his head down, Jensen tilting his up, their lips meeting in a soft moan.
They stand there, the heat of the fire toasting their legs, and kiss until Jensen's lips sting; mapping each other's mouths with lips and tongues as though they've been forced apart for months instead of days. Jensen slides his hands across Jared's chest, feels the muscles ripple under the thin cotton of his shirt, can't help the appreciative hum that leaks from his mouth into Jared's. Jared's fingers start a journey of their own, dragging Jensen's loose tie from his collar, and dropping it to the floor, then tugging his shirt free from the waist of his kilt before fumbling at the impossibly small buttons. It soon turns into a race to see who can rid the other of their shirt first. Jared wins. But so does Jensen. There are no losers when Jared's mouth nuzzles against Jensen's collar bone.
Jared's teeth worrying a brand into his skin doesn't distract Jensen from his task of undressing Jared, of undoing Jared. The sight of him without his shirt, as usual, hits Jensen like a punch in the solar plexus. His arms, still tanned from months of working outside in the summer, are thick with corded muscle. His shoulders broad and strong. His chest sculpted into a work of art, all the more beautiful for the celtic-knot tattoo over his heart, a match for the one inked into Jensen's skin; a tangible symbol of their love, their commitment. Jensen's gaze drifts further down, over Jared's lean waist and his stomach, his defined abs begging to be licked. And Jensen has no hesitation in doing just that.
Fingers gripping into the golden skin of Jared's arms, Jensen pushes his weight forward, urging Jared down. With only a slight grumble of discontent, Jared cedes control, allows Jensen to place him exactly where he wants; flat on his back cushioned by the fluffy sheepskin rug, Jensen between his legs.
Jensen undoes the three leather buckles holding Jared's kilt together, opens it up as though he's unwrapping a Christmas present. Shudders when he sees the surprise waiting for him.
"Fuck, Jared, if I'd known you were going commando I don't think I could've waiting this long to get my mouth on you."
Jared smirks, "A true Scotsman doesn't wear underpants, baby. You know that."
"I'm surprised your nuts didn't freeze off," Jensen snorts.
"Yeah, not going to fib, it was a close call. If you'd turned up late I might have suffered some pretty nasty frost bite," Jared grins, his eyes crinkling up, "A bad case of blue balls you might say."
Jensen groans, "Puns - now, Jared, is it really the time?"
Jared thrusts his hips up into the air, his half-hard cock slapping against his thigh. "Well, maybe you should do something to shut me up."
Jensen licks his lips, tantalisingly slow, deliberate, watches Jared's eyes follow the lazy movement of his tongue. Leans forward, hands braced on Jared's shoulders, pinning him down. Presses a gentle kiss to the side of Jared's neck, just at the spot that makes his whole body quiver. "Maybe I should. You want me to suck you, Jared? Swallow you down? Suck those balls into my mouth until they're tight and full and you're ready to blow?"
"Fuck...yeah," Jared drawls, his eyes flickering shut. He's a sucker for dirty talk, although usually he's the one whispering filth into Jensen's ear. A few years ago, Jensen couldn't even listen to Jared's dirty talk without his face exploding like a splattered tomato, now though, when it's just the two of them, now he has a mouth almost as filthy as Jared's.
"Yeah?" Jensen says, his breath hot against Jared's skin. "I'm afraid you're gonna have to wait, baby."
Jared groans in frustration as Jensen chuckles.
Jensen wants to make the most of their night together. Doesn't want a five-minute quickie in front of the fire. He wants this to be a night to remember. With a self-control that doesn't come easily, he takes his time to feast on Jared's body. Licks a meandering trail across the firm rise of Jared's chest, echoes the path with his fingers, feather soft and teasing. Traces over the ink etched across his heart with absolute reverence. Laps at his dusky brown nipples, turning them into hard little peaks, raw and red, until Jared whines and wriggles, impatient as always. He moves down to Jared's belly, presses sloppy kisses to silky soft skin, swirls his tongue in to the dip of his navel. Sucks purpling marks into the sharp cut of his hips until they're sure to bruise.
Ghosting his breath over Jared's dick, but deliberately by-passing it, he turns his attention to his husband's glorious thighs, his gorgeous never-ending legs; massages every knot of tension loose from powerful muscles, maps the tattoo spread across Jared's thigh with the tip of his tongue. He even slides off Jared's woollen socks and digs his thumbs into the arches of his feet, peppers delicate kisses to his ankle bones.
By the time he does venture anywhere near Jared's dick, the flames in the fireplace are burning low, crackling and spitting as they die, and Jared is bucking his hips up, looking for any kind of friction, his fingers yanking at the rug so hard it's likely to end up bald.
Jensen doesn't torture him any longer, his own resolve and patience strained to the limit. He still doesn't go straight for Jared's cock though; he's far too keen to get his mouth somewhere else.
He loves Jared's balls, doesn't care how weird or just plain slutty that makes him sound. He fucking loves them. They're so big, so fucking beautiful, smell so musky, so intensely Jared. Some nights all Jensen wants to do is drop to his knees and wrap his lips around them, feel them throb inside his mouth, muffling his whimpers, suckle on them until Jared's control splinters, cracks apart, and he fucks Jensen's mouth; desperate, rough and deliciously brutal. Holds his head in place and uses him, dick shoving into the heat of his mouth, heavy balls slamming against his chin until Jared comes in hot spurts down Jensen’s throat. Makes Jensen choke on it. Come leaking from the corner of his ruined mouth, smeared across his face. His lips swollen and his throat raw, his voice a bruised rasp.
Now, Jensen grabs the opportunity to lavish Jared’s balls with the attention they deserve. Licks abstract patterns across the velvet soft skin, kisses them open-mouthed and messy, draws them into his mouth, sucks at them until his cheeks bulge and he can barely breathe, until they're dripping with saliva and Jensen's face is flushed red, spit drooling down his chin, his own dick leaking in satisfaction. One of these days he's going to come just from Jared's balls slapping against his mouth.
Jared's fingers yank at his hair, trying to find purchase in the short strands, his body jerking below Jensen, his breathing laboured. If he still had functioning brain cells he'd be begging.
When Jensen's finally sated his own hunger, he takes pity on his husband and turns his attention to his dick, purple headed with need, jerking in the air and slapping against his belly. Done with every hint of teasing, Jensen swallows him down as much as he can; he's pretty sure only a sword swallower could take Jared down to the root, and that's not one of Jensen's talents. He uses his hands instead; fondling and jerking Jared's cock at the same time as sucking him off, savouring the taste of come dripping against his tongue, salty and a little bitter, and totally addictive, spurring Jensen on. It’s not a perfect blow-job, too sloppy, too impatient, but by the incoherent noises Jared's making, and the way his back is bowing, he doesn't mind.
Jensen wants to keep going, wants to gag on Jared's cock until he spills down his throat, and Jensen thinks that's exactly what's going to happen when he feels Jared's nuts squeezing up, his muscles tensing. But then with a determined burst of effort, Jared shoves Jensen backwards, lies panting for a second, chest heaving. Then he growls, and before Jensen knows it, he's the one flat on his back.
Jared doesn't waste time undoing the buckles on Jensen's kilt, just rucks the heavy material up instead, baring Jensen's thighs, his crotch. The groan that rips free from his throat sends a shiver straight up Jensen's spine and a rush of heat to his belly. "Fucking panties. You've been wearing panties all fucking day. Jensen...I can't even....so bloody sexy."
They are deep red silk, with black scalloped lace-edging, and considering how turned on Jensen is, how goddamn desperate he is, they're probably soaked through.
Jared sits back on his haunches just staring for so long that Jensen's belly starts to twist, his cock twitching against the barely-there restraint of flimsy fabric. And when Jared - a flush of colour splashed across his face and his eyes eaten up by black - finally moves, he doesn't even slide the panties down Jensen's hips, just seals his mouth over the silk and sucks at Jensen's dick through the delicate barrier. Jensen throws his arm across his eyes, biting at his bottom lip to hold back his whimper.
The wet drag of silk against his cock is a torturous pleasure. A blissful torment. Jensen wants more, doesn't want Jared to stop, wants to come as much as he wants this to last forever. Jared's strong fingers span Jensen's hips, holding him steady as he writhes against the sheep-skin rug, nerves afire and skin burning up.
"Fuck," Jared gasps, lifting his head. "Fucking look at you."
Jensen whines, high and needy. Not sure what he wants more; Jared's mouth back on his dick, or Jared's cock in his arse.
Jared solves the problem. "Turn over, Jensen. Bloody hell, need to get inside you right the fuck now."
Jensen scrambles onto all fours, Jared having to help him when he gets caught up in his kilt, the swathes of material tangling around his knees. They still don't stop to remove it; Jared just flips it up over Jensen's back. He does tug Jensen's panties down over the curve of his ass, freeing his erection so it slaps up against his belly. Jensen wiggles his butt impatiently when Jared disappears.
"Okay, you impatient hussy, I'm just grabbing the lube."
Jensen twists his neck and looks over shoulder, sees Jared produce a small bottle of lube from his discarded sporran.
"You had lube in your sporran? What are you a bloody boy-scout?" Jensen sniggers. "Or," he quirks a cheeky grin, "Maybe you just can't last three days without my peachy bum."
Jared smacks Jensen's arse cheek in response, his voice as dark and smooth as bitter chocolate when he replies. "It’s not like you can talk; slutting around all day with panties on. If I'd known that I would have bent you over sooner, fucked you loose and sloppy and sent you back out there with my come leaking out your hole, making a mess of those pretty silk panties."
It might be the filth flowing from Jared's lips, or maybe it's the sharp slap against his bum, but either way Jensen's cock immediately jerks, pulses; a drop of precome dripping onto the rug below him. Jared spanks him again and Jensen drops his head and lifts his butt up higher, eager, his belly squirming and pressure already building in his balls.
Jared doesn't waste much time prepping him; fingers him open with well-practiced efficiency. Even that has Jensen's cock dribbling a steady stream of come onto the floor. One finger, quickly becomes two, then three. Although Jared uses a generous amount of lube to slick the way, there's still a burn, a sharp sting of too much, too soon. Jensen's too carried away to care. Just shoves his ass out more, fucks himself back on Jared's fingers, greedy for the stretch, the fullness.
When Jared slides his fingers out, Jensen grumbles petulantly in dismay. "You really are being a needy slut tonight. It's only been days, Jensen not weeks. Are you that desperate?"
"Yes," Jensen sighs, inhales deeply catching his breath. "For you, yes I am. Always."
He shivers when Jared presses a tender kiss in the middle of his shoulder blades, and then stops breathing altogether when Jared's dick pushes into his hole, steady, insistent, so goddamn thick, filling Jensen up past comfortable. Even as the ache in his ass spreads, radiates up his spine, through his ribs, Jensen groans in approval, and his dick doesn't soften at all.
For all his filthy talk about Jensen's neediness, Jared's just as desperate. Where usually he would wait for Jensen to tell him to move, maybe tease a little, swivel his hips, start off with slow shallow thrusts to make Jensen, beg - demand - more, tonight he pounds into Jensen almost straight away. One hand clasping Jensen's shoulder, the other clamped around his waist, gouging finger shaped bruises into freckled skin.
Jensen submits wholly, gives his body over to Jared. Throws his head back, closes his eyes, lets his jaw fall slack, punched moans breaking free every time Jared slams into him. The rough material of his kilt scrapes across his back, the panties around his thighs trapping his legs together, his dick slapping against his belly with every jarring thrust. The flames of the fire are dwindling low, in danger of flickering out, but Jensen's burning up, droplets of perspiration trickling down his face, catching on his lips, pooling at the hollow of his throat.
"Fuck," Jared says, slamming in hard once more before drawing out all the way, his thick cock dragging against the sensitive rim of Jensen’s hole leaving him whining at the loss. "Want to see you, baby. Need to see your face." Then he's shoving frantically at Jensen, urging him over, scrabbling to haul off his panties, the rip of silk suggesting the panties don't survive. Jensen's kilt goes next, after some choice swear-words from Jared; his fingers, clumsy and clammy, struggling to unfasten the buckles.
Eventually they're both naked, skin against skin, hot to touch and glistening with sweat. Jensen bent in half, his ankles over Jared's shoulders, Jared sliding back into Jensen's slick hole with a satisfied groan. He pounds into Jensen again, an unforgiving rhythm; balls, heavy with spunk, slapping obscenely against Jensen's ass, adjusts his angle, his aim, until Jensen gasps and whines; Jared's cock grazing his prostate perfectly. Ripples of pleasure spreading through his body, his muscles loose, his nerves alight. They know each other's bodies so well, know each other's tells. Jensen knows exactly when Jared is about to blow. The little stutter his hips give, the way his eyes widen, his lips part. It's all Jensen needs, he only has to wrap his fingers around his own cock, his thumb brushing under the head, and he's coming, creamy ropes of spunk exploding over his own belly, over Jared's too, just as Jared squeezes his eyes shut and yells out his own release.
Jared pants above him, his hair sticking to his cheeks, perspiration dripping down his nose and splashing onto Jensen's chest, converging with the sticky mess of come and sweat already coating him.
It’s possible they've had better sex but Jensen doesn't think so. Not when he's flying high on an orgasm that leaves him boneless and shaking. Not when it's his husband - his actual legal and binding with the goddamn paperwork to prove it - husband that's staring down at him, his heart thundering so fiercely that Jensen can feel it pulsing through his own body, in perfect time with the rhythm of his own jack-rabbit heartbeat.
He wishes they could stay like this for ever, lost in each other's eyes, breathing the same air, joined together in every way possible. Unfortunately Jensen is neither a gymnast nor a yoga instructor. "Move your fat ass," he gasps, romance out of the window when he has an almighty cramp in his glutes.
"I love you too, dear." Jared snorts, rolling off of Jensen, and collapsing on the floor beside him. Being a good husband, he manhandles Jensen on to his side and kneads his spasming muscle until the cramp eases.
Jensen leans back against him, happy to be the little spoon until the need to clean up overrides the need to snuggle. "I love you," he says. "Today…today was amazing, absolutely perfect, thank you."
"Thank you for making an honest man out of me," Jared says, nuzzling against the short hairs, damp with sweat, at the nape of Jensen's neck. "And I love you too. So fucking much that it scares me shitless."
Jensen slides his fingers through Jared's, holding his arms around him tight; wordlessly assuring him that he feels exactly the same way. They aren't going to be able to lie there for long. The fire in the hearth is barely more than embers and the cold night is creeping up on them. Another two minutes won't hurt though. And then Jensen might worry about how much it's going to cost to dry clean the rug.
auld man - father
bonnie laddie - handsome guy
dinnae - don't
dreich - dreary, miserable
goin' tae - going to
is'nae - isn't
jumble sale - rummage sale
ken - know
peely wally - sickly, pale
tatties - potatoes
Yer aff yer fuckin heid - you're off your head, insane