It wasn't premeditated. Not this time. Not a prank that Jensen had spent days planning out, not like the Saran Wrap and the pineapple jello, or the fifteen foot high inflatable giraffe. No, it was more of a carpe diem, why the heck not, flash of inspiration.
And actually it happened because Jensen was an awesome friend. There had been a costume party the weekend before, and yeah, costume parties in April were a little unusual, but then so was Mark whose birthday it had been. Anyway, being a kind and considerate friend, Jensen had offered to return all their costumes to the rental store because Chris and Steve had a double date with Abbie and Tessa after practice.
Jensen truly had planned on driving straight to the costume store from school, but half way there had realized he'd forgotten the hat that went with his vampirate costume, and made a quick detour to pick it up. Jensen had arrived home in time to catch Jared letting himself into his parents’ house, and the idea just kind of hit him. Frankly, it would have been a sin not to pull a prank when the circumstances fell together so neatly. The opportunity had basically handed itself to Jensen in sparkly gift wrap with a shiny bow on top.
Just that morning, Jensen had overheard Mrs. Padalecki telling his mother that while she and Mr. Padalecki were taking Meggie to Dallas to visit her grandparents for a few days, Jared was coming back to water the plants and feed their psychotic cat. Not that Jensen had been listening in. He couldn't have cared less about anything Jared Padalecki did. He was Josh's friend, not Jensen's.
Jared was the same age as Jensen's brother, Josh, three whole annoying years older than Jensen. And boy, hadn't they lorded that over Jensen like it was some great personal achievement. If they deigned to talk to him it was to tease him. But more often than not, they just plain ignored him. Unless they wanted him to do something—something they didn't want to get caught doing themselves.
The pair of them got Jensen into plenty of trouble when they were kids, until the summer that Jensen's mom finally figured out that Jensen didn't eat the three pints of ice-cream from the freezer on his own. Or fall into the creek behind their houses without a shove. Or climb the tree to untangle the kite-string unaided.
Josh and Jared both got grounded for a month after the last one. Mainly because of the broken arm and knocked-out cold concussion that eight year-old Jensen sustained when even his skinny-limbed weight was too much for the spindly branch that Jared's kite string was looped around.
That's still the only time that he can remember Jared being genuinely nice to him—when Jensen woke up in the hospital, confused, frightened, and in pain. His family had been outside talking to the doctors, and Jared had held his hand, and wiped the tears from under his eyes. He'd gently combed his fingers through Jensen's hair and murmured soothingly in his ear. He hadn't left, hadn't moved from Jensen's side until Jensen's parents and Josh had burst back into the room.
That had been a one-off though. Normal jerk-ass service had resumed shortly thereafter.
Unlike Jared, Josh at least occasionally made the effort not to be a total dick. But then, he was Jensen's brother, and sometimes brothers had to stick together; the devil you know and all that. Family vacations would have been a nightmare if Josh hadn't temporarily suspended hostilities. And holiday parties would have been hell if Josh hadn't taught Jensen how to avoid the worst of their relatives, including Aunt Cath and her oil-slick lipstick kisses. Or Cousin Bruce, who looked like a gerbil and had teeth as sharp as one, and a nasty predilection for biting unprotected skin. You didn't want to put your fingers anywhere near Cousin Bruce's vicious little mouth, that's for sure.
Jensen's mom loved the holidays. Maybe slightly too much. She threw parties for every occasion from Valentines’ to Christmas. The favorite holiday season in the Ackles household, however, was Halloween. Jensen's mom and dad both loved it, like crazy-loved it. Like, bring out the strait-jackets, crazy. They planned for it months in advance—his mom used spread-sheets for god's sake—and every year they held the best party, with the most over-the-top, gruesome decorations. And they pulled the sickest pranks. One year Jensen's mom ‘trapped’ his dad's hand in the waste disposal, spraying the room and Jensen and Josh in liters of sticky fake blood. It was horrific. Josh and Jensen could have been scarred for life. Luckily the Ackles boys shared their parent’s twisted sense of humor, and loved Halloween just as fanatically.
Jared did not.
Turned out Jared didn't like Halloween at all. Costumes were not his favorite thing. Masks even less so. Clown masks especially scared the crap out of him. Not that he ever admitted as much. But the year that Josh persuaded Jensen to try on his Halloween costume a day early, then hide in the closet and jump out when Jared walked into the room had been pretty eye-opening. Jensen's outfit hadn't even been scary that year; he'd been seven years old and going through a serious chicken nugget obsession. Ronald McDonald was his hero. That year's Halloween costume choice was obvious.
Jensen had been so excited to be the one Josh wanted to play a prank with rather than on for once that he'd almost fallen out of the closet the second he heard Jared walk into Josh's bedroom. He'd had to clap his hand over his mouth to stop his giggles from escaping. But just like Josh had told him to, he'd waited until he heard the bang of the bedroom door shutting, and the springs squeaking as Jared bounced on to Josh's bed, talking a mile a minute as usual, then slowly Jensen had started counting up to one hundred.
He'd lasted until forty-two before his anticipation bubbled over. Clutching a red balloon in one hand and a rubber clown horn in the other, Jensen had burst out of the closet, dementedly honking the horn and giggling like a hysterical six year-old hopped up on Pepsi and M&M's, which y'know, he was.
Jared had screamed. Full-on high-pitched girly screamed. He'd run out of the door, down the stairs and out of the house like the devil was chasing him down. It had been awesome.
They hadn't seen Jared again until three days after Halloween. And he pointedly avoided each and every Ackles for the entire week of Halloween from that year onward.
It had been one of the best days of Jensen's young life. Even though his mom had banned him and Josh from trick-or-treating that year, which was kind of hypocritical, considering some of the downright evil tricks she and his dad had pulled on their poor innocent children. But still, totally worth it.
That was the first prank Jensen had pulled on Jared, and the only one that Josh had actively encouraged, but it was far from the last. It was just too much fun not to do again. And Jared deserved to suffer for being such a jerk to Jensen. Or for just plain old pretending he didn't exist. Not like that bothered Jensen. He had his own friends. He didn't even want Jared to talk to him. Whatever.
Over the years, the tricks had ranged from the simple to the stupid to the ridiculous. None of them ever made Jared scream quite the same way as Ronald McDonald had, although according to Josh the frog spawn in the bottle of water Jensen slipped into his gym bag did make Jared spew.
Now, unfortunately, the opportunities for pranking Jared are few and far between. In fact, since Jared and Josh left for college three years ago, Jensen hasn't had the chance to prank him more than a dozen times. And now that Jared is all grown up, six foot four and built like an MMA fighter, he's not as easy to scare either. That hasn’t stopped Jensen from trying. In fact over the past few years, the time and effort that Jensen has poured into planning pranks to play on the giant Padalecki next door would put the marines to shame.
Obviously this time Jensen doesn’t have a prank set up, but when the perfect opportunity just falls into his lap, it seems petty not to take advantage of it. It's like karma or kismet or fate or some other equally mystical bullshit.
With no time for planning, Jensen does the best that he can with the tools at his disposal. Fortunately—for Jensen, not Jared—that happens to include a car full of costumes. Including Chris's Pennywise outfit.
Jensen rakes through the suit carriers in the trunk until he finds the Pennywise mask in all its creepy latex clown glory. He thinks briefly about grabbing the rest of the outfit too, but a) he's short on time, and b) Chris is a good five inches smaller than him. Jensen's pretty sure there isn't much scary about a killer clown with too-short pants wedged up his ass crack. Funny yes, frightening no.
He does grab the white clown gloves and the bloody machete—plastic and very fake—that came with his vampirate costume, gently closes the trunk lid, pockets his keys and jogs around the back of Jared's house, scaling the wooden fence with years of practiced ease.
The Padaleckis' back door is locked, unsurprisingly, but they handily keep a spare key hidden down the side of one of the terracotta planters clumped beside the pool.
Brushing the dirt from his fingers, Jensen risks a peek through the kitchen window to check if the coast is clear before squeezing his head into the mask, fluffing the attached bright red hair up, cramming his hands into the white cotton gloves and silently letting himself into the house.
Jensen creeps through the kitchen, stealthily opens the door that leads through to the family room, peers through an inch wide gap. Jared is right there. Standing with his back to Jensen—luckily—and staring out of the big picture window that overlooks the street where Jensen just parked his car. Jensen hopes he hasn't been standing there for long.
What to do next is a tough call. Should Jensen wait for Jared to come into the kitchen to feed Mr. Lister the crazy cat, or should he spring a sneak-attack on Jared right now?
Jensen never did have the patience for waiting.
Thankfully Jared has switched on the television; the sound's turned down low, some music channel with dance crap playing, but it does at least give Jensen a little bit of cover as he prowls, silent and deadly, across the room. Jared must be deep in thought, or else all that thick hair curling over his ears is affecting his hearing, because he doesn't so much as twitch while Jensen creeps towards him.
Tip-toeing like he hasn't done since he was nine years old, Jensen's almost scared to breathe as he edges closer, not that it's easy to breathe in the mask at all; it's so damn hot that it feels like the latex might be melting into his skin. It doesn't smell particularly pleasant inside there either.
A few feet away from his target, Jensen raises the bloody machete in his hand and is struck by an embarrassing image of how stupid he's gonna look if Jared doesn't react.
Jared not reacting isn't a problem.
When Jensen is just a step behind him, poised to cackle his most psychotic clown laugh, Jared spins around like a man possessed, or a man that's sensed someone creeping up behind him. Eyes popping wide, Jared stumbles back against the window with a strangled shriek, the tall glass of iced water in his hand flying from his grasp, soaking both Jared and Jensen, ice-cubes spinning through the air like tiny frozen missiles. And then while Jensen is still rooted to the spot with water dripping down the neck of his tee-shirt, Jared, with lightning reflexes that Jensen was not prepared for, launches forward and punches him straight in his shiny round nose.
It's Jensen who stumbles backwards this time, plastic knife dropping to the floor as his hands shoot up to his face, heels catching on the edge of the sheepskin rug, and his ass and the back of his skull hitting the floor in quick succession. At least it's a fluffy landing.
The air is knocked from his lungs though. And with tears blurring his eyes, and his nose throbbing, Jensen doesn’t get a second to catch his breath before Jared leaps on top of him with a furious war cry, thighs straddling Jensen’s hips, massive hands spread like clamps on his shoulders, pinning Jensen to the floor. Then one of those bear-like paws lifts up and Jensen, having less than zero fight responses of his own, squeezes his eyes shut and waits for the pain to hit and the blood to pour.
It doesn't happen. Instead, like a band-aid being ripped off, the mask is yanked up and off his head. Jensen yelps at the burn, then drags in a blessed gulp of air that doesn't smell of latex or Chris's beer breath.
"You!" Jared spits, throwing the mask onto the floor. "You!"
"Hey," Jensen wheezes, still trying to look smug despite the obvious fact that he's the one laid out on the floor with a sore nose. "What's up?"
"You stupid little asshole!” Jared yells. Which really there's no need for; Jensen's not deaf, maybe a little dazed, but not deaf. "I nearly fucking killed you."
Jensen rolls his eyes because, please; a punch or two isn't going to kill him. Jared always did have delusions of grandeur. Stupid giant moron.
"Hardly," Jensen croaks, shuffling from side to side on his butt in an attempt to wriggle free from under Jared's weight.
"What the fuck were you thinking?" Jared growls, finally taking the hint and standing up, roughly hauling Jensen to his feet along with him by the front of Jensen’s very damp and chilly tee.
Jensen glares up at him, defiant and unsettled in ways he shouldn’t be. When Jared doesn’t loosen his grip, doesn’t back off, Jensen yanks his tee-shirt free from Jared’s grabby hands and takes a couple of step backwards. Heart hammering and mouth suddenly dry, he strips off his white gloves, and throws them onto the floor beside the crumpled mask. "I was thinking fuck you, Padalecki," he snarls at Jared.
"Jesus, you're still a mouthy brat, aren't you?" Jared shakes his head, then apparently only just noticing that the front of his shirt is soaked through with ice-cold water, rips it off over his head, brazenly revealing his tanned and ridiculously muscled torso. And really, who actually has a six-pack these days? Meatheads and assholes, that's who. A hot sweat prickles at the back of Jensen’s neck counterpoint to the cold wet material clinging to his chest. Jensen grits his teeth and looks away, tries to hide the shudder that rolls through his body.
"Take your wet shirt off, you idiot." Jared barks at him.
"Fuck you, gigantor!" Jensen snaps back.
"Just take it off, Jensen." Jared lurches forward, hands grappling at Jensen's tee. Jensen slaps him off, or tries to, but Jared was always bigger and stronger than him, and now he must outweigh Jensen by about thirty pounds, all of it flexing muscle. It’s a futile battle.
Jensen folds his arms across his naked puny white chest and glares.
"Aren't you too old for this shit now?" Jared asks, kicking at the clown mask on the floor.
"Aren't you too old to be scared of clowns?"
"Jesus Christ almighty, Jensen, when are you gonna grow the hell up?" Jared’s voice rises to a volume loud enough to pinch the nerves behind Jensen’s eyes. "You're seventeen fucking years old!"
"I’m eighteen, dumbass!" Jensen shouts back, because he's not gonna stand there and get yelled at by anyone that isn't his mom. "And just because you're too full of yourself to take a joke, there's no need to have a prissy bitch-fit."
"Right!" Jared huffs, face flushing and steam almost visibly billowing out of his ears. "Right, that's it!"
"Oooo!" Jensen juts his chin out and scoffs, because there is no screwing the lid back on the bottle once the annoying little brother inside him is in charge of his mouth. "Is Jared angry? What's Jared gonna do? Gonna teach me a lesson? Gonna—"
Jensen's words are cut off with an undignified yelp. The room swoops around him, and he finds himself in the humiliating position of being held face down over Jared's knee, Jared's hand splayed out, an immovable weight in the middle of his shoulder blades, face smushed down into the sofa cushions, legs trapped between Jared's thighs.
"Yeah," Jared growls, low enough that it almost sounds as though he’s talking to himself. "That is exactly what I'm gonna do. Gonna teach you a lesson good and hard. Gonna shut that goddamn fucking mouth of yours up once and for all."
And then Jared's hand smacks down flat on Jensen's ass, hard. It freaking hurts. Even through his jeans. And then he does it again. Jensen hears the whoosh of air as Jared's hand sweeps down again and then the crack as it makes contact right in the middle of his ass-cheek like there's a damn bulls-eye painted there.
Jensen's never been smacked in his life. His parents never believed in corporal punishment; groundings, chores and the deep disappointment of letting his mother down are the worst punishments he's ever experienced. This…this is utterly humiliating.
At first Jensen struggles. Tries to kick free. Bucks against Jared's hold. But the more Jensen spits and twists and fights, the tighter Jared grips him, and the harder his hand comes down.
"Lie still, brat." Jared pants above him, slapping Jensen's butt three times in a row on the exact same spot.
Jensen doesn't say a word — can't say a word. Not without revealing how close he is to losing it. Instead, he bites his teeth into his bottom lip until it stings and clenches his eyes shut.
"Just a spoiled little kid," Jared growls, three slaps coming down hard on the opposite cheek this time. "Don't care about anyone but yourself, do you?"
Another sharp thwack catches Jensen just under both cheeks of his ass. This time, he lets out a broken gasp and goes limp across Jared's lap.
Jared doesn’t notice or doesn’t care. He just keeps on going, palm snapping down with brutal efficiency.
Tears spill from the corners of Jensen’s eyes and snot drips from his nose, soaking into the cushion that his face is buried in. Still he stubbornly refuses to shout out. To beg Jared to stop. To give the asshole the satisfaction.
And Jared doesn't stop. His hand must hurt like hell, but he doesn't even slow down. Spank after spank rains down on Jensen's ass and thighs until it feels as though his skin is on fire.
"Why do you do it, Jensen?" Smack!
"All the fucking stupid pranks." Thwack!
"The giraffe, and the tennis balls, and the post-it notes on my damn truck." Crack!
"And all—" slap!
"The creepy—," slap!
"Fucking masks!" Slap!
"Why do you do it?" Smack!
"Because!" Jensen screams, and something vital inside his chest fractures, splinters apart. "Because you never see me. Because you never fucking see me."
Everything stops. Jared's palm hangs in mid-air. The hand braced across Jensen's back falters, then falls away.
"Because I never—" Jared starts to repeat, voice hesitant, uncertain. And Jensen can actually feel his shocked inhale. "Jensen, I—"
But Jensen's done. Jared's had his fun. He won.
Jensen doesn't climb from Jared's lap as much as fall from it in a tangled mess of limbs, feet kicking free, elbows striking out and the rest of his body, leaden and sluggish, falling into an ungainly heap. His jeans feel like they're woven from horse hair, scraping like wire across his ass. But that doesn't stop him, doesn't even slow him down; he wants out of there. Wants to run and hide and never set eyes on Jared fucking Padalecki ever again.
He scrambles away on his hands and knees until his feet are steady underneath him, and his legs begin to co-operate. But he doesn't even make it three steps before Jared is on him, fingers curling around his wrist, spinning him around, dragging him back."
"Jensen, wait! I don't understand. What do you mean? Jensen?"
Jensen won't look up, can't look Jared in the eye. Tries to snatch his arm free. Jared doesn't let him. Grabs his other wrist too instead. "Don't!" Jensen cries desperately, unable to stop his tears from falling, his shoulders from trembling. "Just, just let me go you fucker, let me go."
But instead of letting him go Jared wraps his arms around Jensen, tugs him even closer. "Jensen, please talk to me."
Jensen wants to tell Jared to get lost. Wants to pull himself together, locate a little of his lost dignity and walk away, but tucked safe against the sweat-damp skin of Jared's broad chest, he can't stop the truth from blurting free between hitched sobs. "It doesn't matter what I do. You don't see me. You don’t care."
Jared shakes his head, "That’s not true. I care about you, Jensen. I've always—"
"No!" Jensen's head snaps up to meet Jared's shocked gaze, and with a sudden burst of anger he smacks his palms, flat and sharp, against Jared's chest, straightens his elbows fast, shoves hard, forces Jared to stagger backwards, to let him go. “You don't understand. Why don't you understand? It's never me. It's never me you look at. Never me you—never me! There's always gonna be someone else. Someone better. And I'll never be enough...never be the one you—"
And then Jared is standing next to Jensen, arms circling him, one hand on the small of his back holding him close, the other gently cradling his head. And Jared's mouth, his mouth is right there, pressing against Jensen's, soothing his anger, stealing his breath.
Jensen freezes, his shoulders hitched up in a rigid line, hands at his sides, grasping at air. Jared kisses him gently, undemanding but insistent, and eventually Jensen, without conscious thought, starts to respond. He parts his lips with a soft gasp, and meets Jared's pressure with equal force. Jensen tilts his head to the side, his hands, clammy with sweat, hesitantly reaching out, ghosting up Jared's sides, settling uncertainly on the jut of Jared's hips, the skin smooth and warm under the flutter of his fingers.
Jared moans softly against Jensen's mouth, the vibrations tickling Jensen’s lips, sending a shiver rippling down his spine like a cool trickle of water. Jensen almost jerks in surprise when Jared's tongue nudges into his mouth, asking for more. But he relaxes his jaw, opens up, and shyly allows him in.
It's everything Jensen ever wanted; Jared's torso, naked and firm, pressed against him, Jared's fingers carding through his hair and his pretty pink lips crushed against Jensen's. It's a surreal moment. One that Jensen wants to savor. To roll about in and cherish for ever. But it's one that can't last.
It's Jared's hand skimming down the dip of Jensen's back, settling over the curve of his ass, that bursts Jensen's dream-like bubble. The wave of pain when Jared's fingers press into tender flesh that yanks Jensen back to reality with a sharp intake of breath and a sickening flush of embarrassment.
Jensen trip, stumbles, backwards, slips out of Jared's embrace, jerks out of his reach. Scrubs the back of his arm over his mouth. Humiliation coils, a squirming knot in his belly, creeps like poison into his blood stream. Sets his heart into a pitter-patter panic.
"Shit, Jensen I'm sorry." Confusion clouds Jared’s eyes and he steps back at the same time as his hand reaches out.
Jensen stands immobile, stares at the kiss-swollen bow of Jared's lips. Takes in the heated flush staining his chest. Jensen knows his ears are burning bright pink, his cheeks pulsing scarlet. Tries to blink back the unwanted tears that are pooling in his eyes.
"Jensen," Jared says, his tone pillow-soft, wary. "Please don't—"
Don't freak out. Don't cry like a baby. Don't come back around here again. Don't tell Josh.
Jensen doesn't wait to find out what Jared doesn't want. Because what it's going to boil down to is that he doesn't want Jensen.
He has the presence of mind to grab his damp shirt off the floor, but doesn't stop to pick up any of the costume. Just high tails it from the room, back the way he came. Ignores Jared hollering after him as he barrels through the kitchen, slams out into the back yard, almost trampling on the cat, scrapes up his chest when he scrambles over the fence, turning his ankle when he lands—a worrying pop and fierce pain ricocheting up his leg like a bullet—falls face-first into the dirt, crushing his mother's petunias under his knees.
It takes him three attempts to unlock the back door, the key almost sliding through his clammy fingers. He takes the time to remove his shoes because nothing, not even a Jared Padalecki-sized crisis, is worth incurring his mother's wrath for tracking mud through the house.
Thanking God and his parent’s busy schedules that he has the house to himself for a couple of hours, Jensen limps slowly up the stairs to his bedroom, dumps his tee-shirt on the floor, then hop-hobbles straight through to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him just because. He turns the shower on first, then gingerly peels off his jeans and underwear. His ankle is already a little swollen and turning ugly shades of yellow and blue. Jensen barely spares it a glance.
Instead, he glares in the mirror. His face is a mess, blotchy and swollen, especially the end of his nose. He prods at it tentatively, relieved to discover it doesn't hurt too badly; Pennywise's big clown nose shielded it from the worst of Jared's jab. Shuffling around and twisting his neck awkwardly, he stares at the mottled red handprints stretching from the middle of his thighs up over the curve of his ass. When he lays his hand against a particularly angry mark, Jensen can feel the heat radiating from his skin. He wonders just how badly Jared’s palm hurts.
Jensen winces when he climbs in the shower, and turns down the water temperature from scorching hot to a kinder lukewarm spray. As water cascades down his body, he thinks about what happened with Jared. If Jensen is very honest he would admit that the whole spanking scenario is something he’s fantasized about. Or possibly even dreamt about. Probably after watching porn on his laptop, hidden safely under the bedcovers, one hand on his keyboard, the other fisted around his dick.
Unfortunately, the reality of Jared spanking his ass did not live up to dream-Jared spanking his ass. Maybe because dream-Jared slaps his ass, kisses him breathless, fucks him sloppy, and declares his undying love. Real life-Jared was pissed and unforgiving and spanked Jensen like he was a naughty kid. It wasn't sexy. Not at all. It was humiliating. Left Jensen feeling raw and broken and stupid; not turned on.
The kiss, that was surprising; tender, and soft, and breathtaking. Jensen traces a finger across his lips, chasing the sensation of Jared's mouth pressed against his. Yeah, that kiss was something else. It lived up to, surpassed, Jensen’s expectations of what kissing Jared might be like.
But it wasn't the right time. And it wasn't for the right reason. Jensen's not exactly sure why Jared kissed him, but he strongly suspects it had more to do with pity than love.
Jensen tilts his face up into the spray of water, wearily lets it wash away the tear tracks from his cheeks, and disguise the fresh tears that won't stop falling.
It hurts, physically hurts, like someone's ripping apart his insides, when Jensen thinks about how long he's been in love with Jared Padalecki. About the years he's spent yearning after the boy next door. The boy who thinks of him as a little brother. Not even that. The boy who thinks Jensen's just an annoying brat.
The throb of his bruised skin under the water is proof enough of what Jared thinks of him. As if Jensen didn't already know. As if he doesn't spend every day brooding over the fact that the guy he loves doesn't know he exists. No, that's not true. Jared knows he exists, he just doesn't care. And that's even worse.
Three years Jensen has spent pining. Ever since he was a skinny-legged, goofy fifteen year-old.
Jensen could even name the exact date and place that his love-hate relationship with the boy next door tipped into a bad case of full-on unrequited heartbreaking love. It was one week before Jared and Josh left home to start college. Josh had persuaded their parents to let him have a party, one final chance to say goodbye to his high school friends. It wasn't too big, not too crazy. Their mom and dad were right next door at the Padalecki's and even though they're pretty cool as far as parents go—as demonstrated by their Halloween insanity and enthusiastic PFLAG membership—Josh knew not to push his luck.
Jensen was supposed to be camping out in his tent in the Padalecki's back yard. Instead, he'd clambered over the fence and slipped quietly into the party. He had no nefarious trick up his sleeve. Didn't want to cause trouble. Just wanted to hang out for a bit and see what he was missing out on. He found a dark nook, hunkered down on his butt; knees pulled up tight to his chest, and watched. Watched his brother and his friends laugh and joke with all the swagger of eighteen year-olds who thought they owned the world. Watched the girls gossip and giggle and take about a hundred selfies, and the boys fall over themselves in an effort to impress them.
He watched Jared dance with a slip of a girl with sun-spun golden hair and huge black-lined eyes, who without her high heels wasn't much taller than Jensen. Watched as Jared picked her up and twirled her around until she squealed for him to stop. Watched, with a wild flutter in his belly, as Jared bent down and kissed her; his stupid bangs flopping into his face, and his long fingers spanning her tiny waist, holding her close.
Jensen wanted to be in that girl’s place so much he almost forgot how to breathe.
Three years later, he still has trouble remembering how to breathe whenever Jared is around.
Jensen hates and loves with equal passion the holidays, the parties his mom throws. Prays that Jared won't be home, won't turn up. That he will. Lives for the times he does, dies a little inside every time he appears with a new girl clinging to his arm. Watches from the corner of the room, fingernails digging half-moons into his palms, a lonely ache in his chest, watching Jared with his dimpled smile and sparkling eyes, wishing that he'd just look up and see Jensen standing there.
He tries sometimes to speak to Jared. To be the one that Jared smiles down at, laughs with, pulls into his arms and dances with. But no matter how determined Jensen is, how hard he tries, the words invariably tangle around his tongue, his shy smile twists into a grimace, and he ends up walking away with his ears burning and shameful rivers of sweat soaking into his shirt.
The only time Jared spares him more than a second glance is when Jensen pranks him. So, yeah, is it stupid? Probably. Immature? Definitely, but it's the only time that Jensen doesn't feel invisible.
By the time Jensen turns off the shower, the bathroom is heavy with moisture and his skin is rosy-pink and pruning. His butt still aches and his ankle bone feels like it's trying to burst through the skin, but his eyes have finally dried up, and he feels calmer, in a ‘my life can't possibly get any worse way’ rather than an ‘everything's going to be okay way’. But right now, he'll take flat-out misery as a win.
He pats himself dry, ties a towel around his waist and hobbles back through to his bedroom, leaning against the wall for support. He's rather more concerned than he was previously that he can't seem to put much weight on his ankle without wanting to throw up.
"Jesus, Jensen, what have you done to yourself?"
Jensen's head snaps up, his hand slides down the wall and his ankle explodes into a white flaming ball of agony. And as much as he wants Jared not to be standing in his bedroom, shirtless and probably pissed, Jensen is really goddamn grateful when he scoops Jensen up and deposits him gently on the bed.
"Hold on," Jared says, dashing out the room. "I'll be right back."
Jensen kind of hopes not. Exhales heavily through his mouth as the pain gradually subsides. But less than a minute later Jared comes bounding back into the room with an icepack that he wraps around Jensen's ballooning ankle, propping it up on a pillow.
Jensen scowls at him.
"Shit, Jensen, that looks bad."
Jensen leans his weight up on his elbows, very conscious of the tight stretch of hot skin across his ass.
"What do you want, Jared?"
Jared's eyes flash, an amber storm that flares and dies. He points at a paper bag dumped at the doorway. "I brought back your mask."
"Thanks," Jensen huffs grudgingly.
"And, I wanted to apologize. For y'know—" Jared nods, eyes flicking towards Jensen's butt.
Jensen grits his teeth and narrows his eyes, focuses on the anger and not the godawful embarrassment.
"Does it—" Jared says, fidgeting nervously. "Does it hurt?"
"What do you think?" Jensen asks, incredulously. "Have you seen the size of your Sasquatch hands? Of course it freaking hurts."
"I'm sorry," Jared rubs his hand across his jaw. "I'm really sorry. I don't know what I was thinking."
Jensen actually feels a little bad for him. He looks pretty miserable. And honestly, Jared's a good guy; he doesn't usually lose his temper or punch people. He's probably beating himself up.
"I mean," Jared continues, "the mask thing was really fucking childish, and you were being an insufferable little shit, but—"
Or maybe he's not. "Yeah," Jensen snaps. "I'm an ass. I got the message. Thanks for bringing back my stuff, but you can fuck off any time now."
"Jesus, Jensen, you're a prickly bastard." Jared actually fucking smiles. "And you're a goddamn impossible kid to read."
"I'm not a kid." Jensen grinds the words out through a clenched jaw.
"I'm sorry," Jared holds a hand up in supplication, one dimple winking from his lop-sided smile. "I know you're not a kid. I just meant, you're like a puzzle wrapped inside an enigma, tied together with a criminally tempting bow."
A crinkle burrows between Jensen's eyebrows as he stares up at Jared.
Jared laughs, but it sounds strained. "You think I don't see you? You honestly think I don't notice you? Jensen, you drive me fucking crazy. Every time I come home from college you're more grown up. More goddamn gorgeous. Do you have any idea how hard it’s been to stand back and watch you grow from a cute kid into the hottest guy I've ever seen? Do you know how often I have to remind myself that you're my best friend's baby brother?"
If Jensen's wasn't already in a helluva lot of pain, he'd pinch himself to make sure he wasn't passed out in the bottom of the shower and dreaming.
"And the thing is," Jared drags his fingers through the disheveled waves of his hair, brushes it away from his face with a frustrated tug. "The thing is, Jensen, you obviously hate my guts."
Jensen's jaw unlocks with an almost audible crack. He stares open-mouthed at Jared who throws his arms up in the air. "I mean you don't talk to me. It seems like every time we come close to having a conversation, you storm off. Like you can barely stand to stay in the same room as me. And all the damn pranks! The only time I see you smile is when you've come up with some cruel and unusual way to torment me."
Jared seems to be looking for some kind of response, but Jensen can't do much but gawk at him.
"So, what is it?" Jared presses. "Do you hate me?"
"No!" Jensen shakes his head frantically. "No."
"So?" Jared pushes.
"So—" Jensen sinks back down onto his bed, head sinking into his pillow. The position puts a little more pressure on his tender skin, but means he doesn't have to look at Jared. It's the only way he thinks he might be able to speak. "So, I've been in love with you for three years."
"Three years," Jared parrots incredulously. "Jensen, you would only have been fifteen, just a-"
"Just a kid!" Jensen bites out. "I know. But it doesn't change anything. I fell in love with you. And it wasn't just a crush. And I didn't grow out of it. And I didn't speak to you because every time I tried, I choked up. I had to watch you hook up with all those girls and know that you'd never be interested in a guy. In me."
"And the pranks?" Jared asks softly.
"It was the only time you paid me any attention." Jensen admits.
"Fuck, what an idiot."
Jensen pouts. "I know, okay? I know I'm an idiot."
"Not you, Jensen." Jared says. "Me."
Jensen's eyebrows jump up to his hairline. He shuffles back up onto his elbows so he can see Jared’s face, make sure he’s hearing this right.
Jared shakes his head, chuckles. "I should have guessed you were just pulling my pigtails."
Jensen looks pointedly at Jared's hair, shrugs a shoulder and nods. Figures yeah, Jared probably could tie it into a couple of pigtails if he wanted.
"Not literally, you ass." Jared grins. "Metaphorically. So much for Psych 101. Jesus, I didn't have a clue."
"Would it have mattered if you did?" Jensen asks.
Jared pauses, considers the question seriously. "No," he eventually admits. "No, I guess it wouldn't have.”
Any hope that had been rising in Jensen's chest plummets like a lead weight into his belly.
"But only because you were so young." Jared adds quickly when he sees the color leaching from Jensen's face. "It would have been wrong. Fuck, Josh would have killed me. He still might."
"But, you like girls." Jensen says, although he hopes the kiss might suggest that Jared doesn't just like girls.
"Not just girls." Jared smiles wryly. "I just haven't brought any guys home yet. I'm not sure what my parents are going to say."
"Oh," Jensen says glumly.
"But if I found the right guy, I don't really think they'd care. It's not like they cared when you came out."
"Oh," Jensen repeats slightly more hopefully. "So?"
"So, I'd like to kiss you again, Jensen," Jared says. "And I'd like it if you didn't run away this time."
"Okay," Jensen licks his lips nervously and nods in the direction of his busted ankle. "Well, I don't think I'm running anywhere for a while. So if you—"
Jensen's words dry on his tongue as Jared leans over him, cups his chin, holds him steady. Dips his head, brushes his lips ever so lightly against Jensen's.
Jensen hums, sighs, swallows hard, lets his eyes flutter shut. Waits with a heady expectation that makes the damp hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Jared's mouth presses against his, a gentle kiss that grows slowly from tender to heated. Until Jensen is gasping into Jared's mouth, his heartbeat racing and arms trembling. Trembling so badly that they refuse to take his weight any longer and Jensen collapses back against his pillows with a pained and disappointed groan.
Jared laughs low and breathy, catches his own weight on the bed, hands falling either side of Jensen's shoulders. "Can I…can I lay down beside you?" He asks. "Just if you want. Just to kiss. Not to do anything you aren't comfortable with."
"Yes," Jensen says, eyes wide. "Yes, yes, yes. Please."
It's kind of awkward. And uncomfortable. Downright painful at first. There's a lot of deep breathing and whimpers, soothing apologies and pained grunts. More than one curse word is thrown around. But with some careful maneuvering, they finally find a comfortable position to lie together on Jensen's bed.
Jared ends up on his back, Jensen half on his side, half draped over Jared. His screwed-up ankle is still kind of elevated and his butt is blessedly no longer squished against the mattress. It's heavenly. Jared's arms are folded around him, fingers tracing nonsense patterns across his skin, down the dip of his spine, scuffing along the edge of the towel where it's barely clinging to Jensen's narrow hips.
Jensen has kissed guys before. Just because he's been in love doesn't mean he hasn't tried to get laid. He's a teenager. With teenage hormones. And curiosity. And he was damn sure that if he ever did get a chance with Jared Padalecki, he didn't want to be a clueless virgin. So he's done a few things, with a couple of guys, and maybe he's still a little bit of a virgin, but he's not clueless.
So once he relaxes, truly starts to believe that Jared isn't pulling some massive retaliatory prank, Jensen sets out to show him just what he's been missing. He knows he's not got anything to prove, but well, who knows how many chances he's going to have to kiss Jared. This whole kissing thing could be a one-off, and if it is, Jensen is damn well going to make the most of it. And fuck, but Jared has the most addictive mouth; Jensen can't get enough of it. Wants to set up camp right here and stay forever.
He can't keep his hands to himself either. Can't stop caressing every bit of honey-gold skin he can reach.
"Jesus, fuck, Jensen," Jared gasps.
Jensen gulps a breath of air and grins down at him, lips feeling as raw as his ass.
"Are you trying to kill me here?" Jared brushes his thumb up the ridge of Jensen's cheek, traces his fingers over the shell of Jensen's ear. "Look at you; so pretty. So fucking pretty."
He tugs Jensen back down into another kiss, a messy lazy affair, tongues slipping against one another, licking across lips, behind teeth. Jensen is flushed hot all over; sweat beading at his hairline, sticking behind his knees, dripping down the dip between his shoulder blades. He angles himself a little more into Jared, ignores the twinge of pain shooting up his leg when his ankle shifts wrong. His towel is barely clinging to him, and his dick is hard and heavy between his legs, pressing against the meat of Jared's thigh every time he moves.
It's not long before Jensen gives up any pretense of restraint or pride and blatantly grinds against Jared, aborted little grunts falling into Jared's mouth. Their chests, glistening with sweat, slip slide together. Jared only stops kissing him long enough to whisper in his ear. "That's it Jensen, come on darlin'. Take what you want. Want you to. Want to feel it. Want to see those pretty green eyes when you come."
Jared's hands slide down Jensen's back, rippling over Jensen's ribs, dragging free the tenuously tied towel. His fingers spread out over the swell of Jensen's ass, and this time the feel of Jared’s fingertips digging into the well-spanked blush of his ass cheeks is nothing but incredible. A blistering heat crackles through his nerves, pulses straight to his groin. Jensen whines, high in his throat, claws desperate gouges across the bunched muscles of Jared's biceps. Comes with a hoarse cry and shuddering aftershocks that leave him shaking breathlessly in Jared's arms.
"God," Jared says unsteadily. "Fuck. That was...fuck."
"Yeah?" Jensen asks, unsure and a little embarrassed.
"Yeah," Jared smiles. "That was the hottest thing I've ever seen."
Jensen basks in the praise and the faint ripples of pleasure still skittering across his skin. But then he looks down and sees his come seeping into the leg of Jared's jeans, and the impressive bulge of Jared's erection pushing against his zipper, and he feels like the world's most selfish asshole.
That just won't do. Especially not considering the hours Jensen has spent daydreaming about getting his hands on Jared's dick.
Jared captures Jensen's hand on its journey toward his crotch, holds it flat against Jensen’s fluttering belly. "No, you don't have to."
"What if I want to?" Jensen asks, a hint of a pout hiding in the curve of his lips.
"I guess—I don't know, Jensen. I don't want you to do anything you're not ready for."
"You do know I'm eighteen, right?" Jensen smirks. "And not virgin pure."
"You're not?" Jared quirks an eyebrow, and Jensen isn't quite sure if he's mocking him.
"No, not completely."
"Well, in that case," Jared grins, lifting his head to press a kiss against the sharp cut of Jensen's jaw. "Have at it."
It's not easy unfastening Jared's jeans, not Jensen's suavest five minutes. He's going to blame it entirely on his ankle which twinges every time he moves it. Eventually though, he gets Jared's jeans dragged half way down his thighs, and his Saxx boxers too, then he wriggles down the bed to get a closer look at the monster Jared's been hiding in his pants.
And just as he suspected, Jared’s dick is gorgeous. Obviously, Jensen's not an expert; he's not so experienced that he can claim to be a cock connoisseur or anything, but he's had his hands down a couple of guy's pants and he's certainly watched plenty of porn. Jared’s dick isn’t quite record-breaking size, thank god because Jensen doesn't want to dislocate his jaw or rupture something, but it is thick and long, purple-headed and shining with fat beads of pre-come that Jensen desperately wants to taste.
So he does; sticks his tongue out and licks up a salty white pearl. Jared squeaks. Jensen might laugh if he wasn't concentrating so hard.
"Jensen, you don't have to do that."
Jensen ignores him. Wraps his fingers around Jared's cock, appreciates the solid weight of it in his hand before curling his fingers around it a little firmer, holding it steady while he kitten licks the head clean of pre-come with a hum of satisfaction. Jared throws his head back and whines.
When Jensen jacks Jared off, he’s hesitant at first, a little unsure of how firm he should grip Jared’s dick, how fast he likes it, how rough. But Jared reacts enthusiastically to everything Jensen does, bucking his hips up and groaning encouragement.
And the sight of Jared, spread across his bed, fingers bunching Jensen's sheet into wrinkled clumps, looking down at him with dark-eyed wonder, bolsters Jensen's confidence. A tiny drop of sweat crawls down Jared's abs, and Jensen can’t resist licking it away before sinking his lips down over the head of Jared's dick. Jensen can't swallow it all down, not even close, but he swirls his tongue around the width of it, and hollows his cheeks and sucks. Jared whimpers.
Jensen keeps one hand working Jared's cock, fingers circled tightly around it, jerking it with rhythmic strokes, and then he cups Jared's—fucking massive—balls in his other hand, squeezes them gently in his palm. Flicks his tongue under the head of Jared’s dick, and then sucks, hard.
Jared yells, his hips snap up, his dick hits the back of Jensen's throat, and then Jensen's choking and coughing, and Jared's come is spilling out of his mouth, dripping across his chin, down his throat, tears are pouring from his eyes, and even his nose is streaming.
"Fuck!" Jared yelps, bolting upright. "Fuck, I'm sorry."
Jensen doesn't know whether to be embarrassed or pissed. Isn't coming in someone's mouth without a bit of a warning kind of rude? He's not quite sure of the etiquette in these situations.
But once he stops spluttering and manages to breathe in a full lungful of air, Jensen settles on feeling a little smug. He made Jared come like an erupting geyser, that’s not bad for his first attempt at a blow-job.
"God, Jensen I'm sorry,” Jared says again, heaving Jensen up the bed, and dragging him into his side. Grabbing the towel from where it's dangling off the edge of the bed, he carefully wipes Jensen's face before cleaning himself up and wriggling back into his underwear and jeans. "Your mouth should come with a warning label."
Jensen giggles and let's his head fall onto Jared's shoulder.
"Are you okay?" Jared asks looking at him with a bemused twinkle in his eyes.
"Yeah," Jensen sighs. "I'm awesome."
Jared slides his arm around Jensen's shoulder, snuggles him close. Jensen turns his head, brushes his lips across perfect golden skin. Doesn't spare a single thought to his bruised ass cheeks or weirdly colored melon-sized ankle.
"So," Jared asks when the contented afterglow begins to fade. "You're going to college this year?"
"Mhm, that's the plan," Jensen says.
"Any idea where?"
"Well," Jensen says. "I was thinking not too far from home. Maybe UT?"
"Yeah. If it’s good enough for my big brother and his best friend, I thought it might just do for me."
"Wow, so, this…us, you think you might want to give it a shot? You know, be a thing? To be like, shit, I don't know, like a thing?”
Jensen snorts. "Eloquent, dude. I thought I was supposed to be the dumb-ass kid."
Jared very maturely snags Jensen in a headlock and noogies him until he yelps. Jensen retaliates by elbowing him, not entirely deliberately, in the ribs. "If you were a kid, Jensen I wouldn't be in bed with your naked ass."
"Don't I know it," Jensen says ruefully. "I've only been waiting three years. So were you trying to ask me to be your boyfriend in your own charming Neanderthal way?"
"Jeez, the boy has one freaking orgasm and he turns into a cocky little shit."
"I've always been a cocky little shit," Jensen grins.
"Well, that's true," Jared agrees too quickly. "And yes. Yes, I am asking you to be my boyfriend. I mean obviously we're gonna have to take things slow."
Jensen looks down at his naked body and then up at Jared, with a smirk.
"Yeah, yeah, smart-ass," Jared says. "Slower. You've still got school to finish up and I've got finals, and work and shit. But if you want—"
"Yes," Jensen says. And then again just in-case Jared didn't hear. "Yes." And again, just to avoid misunderstandings. "Yes. Absolutely. I want to be your boyfriend."
Jared's laugh is smothered by Jensen's enthusiastic kiss. "So," Jensen says, a flush high on his cheeks and his dick half hard again already and twitching against his thigh. "You’re gonna have to tell Josh."
Jared moans, his head banging back against Jensen's headboard. "Well, you have to tell your parents."
Jensen shudders at the thought.
And then freezes at the distinct sound of his dad jogging up the stairs. "Jared," he says, looking at his open bedroom door and grabbing at the sheet he's lying on top of. "That's my—"
"Jensen, your mother says—"
Jensen stares at his dad standing in the doorway. His dad stares at Jared, whose face has turned redder than Jensen's ass cheeks.
"Erm—” Jensen's dad’s gaze drifts to Jensen's naked butt and then with wide-eyed horror snaps back to Jared's face.
"Alan?" Jensen's mother shouts from downstairs. "Did you tell him? No pranking Jared this time. The inflatable giraffe almost gave Sherri a heart-attack. If Jen pulls anything this time, I think she might tan his hide."
Jensen lets out a strangled squawk. Jared whimpers, literally face-palms. And Jensen's dad...Jensen's dad laughs.
"Sorry, honey," he calls back. "Too late. Oh, you're gonna want to see this. And bring your camera. I think Jensen might just have topped the inflatable giraffe."
Thank you for reading!